Experiences at Barnard Reaffirm Potential of Human Spirit

Levine Liebman

I became conscious of those themes initially at Barnard, and more fully attuned to them in the years since. Barnard gave me the tools to amplify my understanding of politics, admittedly devoid of what seems to me to be an easy, follow-the-meme cynicism, which encompasses what my understanding of what human interaction is. So I will, in fact, enumerate some experiences that clarified that for me: helping open up the world of musical theater (including Gilbert and Sullivan to which Barnard introduced me in depth) to young children; witnessing the creativity of young people through volunteer work; and having the great good fortune to gain an appreciation of the importance of government policies, action and inaction, that have a direct impact on people's lives, as a staff aide to two US senators and a governor who believed in using their good fortune to try to enhance the lives and opportunities of others. For me these experiences reaffirmed the heights to which the human spirit can soar. (Not that I am blind to myriad instances, in the world of politics and elsewhere, of power trumping principle and compassion.) And that sustains me when I am confronted as we all are with the depths to which humanity can descend.