Pullups for philanthropy

Psychology faculty, staff take different approach to raising money for student scholarships

March 16, 2021

This year, the Arizona State University Department of Psychology is getting creative with their participation in Sun Devil Giving Day.

The department is working to raise funds for student scholarships and opportunities through the Undergraduate Scholarship Fund and Psychology Innovation Fund. But instead of just asking for contributions, faculty and staff are participating in a pullup challenge. Faculty, staff, students —and even children — from the ASU Department of Psychology perform pullups to fundraise for student scholarships. Download Full Image

The challenge was the idea of David Lundberg-Kenrick, media outreach specialist and program manager of the Psych For Life initiative. Through Sun Devil Giving Day on March 18, Lundberg-Kenrick promised to donate 50 cents per completed pullup for whoever did the most pullups in the department. Pullups are considered an exercise that builds a foundation of core strength, much like scholarships do in supporting students in need.

Word spread quickly, and psychology faculty, graduate students and staff members began logging their pullup totals and sharing videos of their feats of strength, all in the pursuit of increasing student scholarship funds. To date over 1,000 pullups have been logged.

“Never in my dreams did I expect so many pullups to be logged in response to my email. Supporting our students is so important to us in every initiative that we take on as a department that we thought this was a nice metaphor to physically raise funds for the students who are working so hard,” Lundberg-Kenrick said. “This is an important cause, and because of the pandemic, students need our help now more than ever.”

Michael Barlev, an assistant research professor, is the current leader in the competition and credits his strong showing to his rock climbing background. Barlev’s research focus is in social and evolutionary psychology and centers on cognition and culture and social decision-making.

“I really like Dave,” Barlev said. “But I’m going to bankrupt him. Joking aside, our department is a psychology family and we are here to support our students who are in financial need.”

Erika Pages, a graduate student who works with Michelle (Lani) Shiota, also joined the competition and added her pullups to the total. Adam Cohen, professor of psychology also recruited his young son to join him in the fundraising endeavor.

“Our department’s ability to advance exciting new initiatives, financially support our students’ achievements, and expand opportunities to underserved communities requires everyone to pitch in — from inside the department and from outside the university," said Steven Neuberg, department chair and Foundation Professor of psychology. "Our faculty, staff, students and alumni supporters continue to invest greatly in our mission, and I’m proud of how many of us have dedicated even more energy, even more thoughtful problem-solving, and even more dollars to advance our missions during these challenging times.”

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


Can the 'soul of the nation' be saved?

Collaborative event explores prospects for future of US politics, government

March 16, 2021

The Project on Ethics in Political Communication at The George Washington University and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University are bringing together leading scholars and practitioners for a conversation about what the “soul of the nation” means in theory — and in practice.

President Joe Biden promised to restore the soul of America, an idea he repeated during his inaugural address. For some this appeal to “civil religion” can bring the nation together with a shared moral purpose. For others, it can be exclusionary and raises concerns about “Christian nationalism” and fears about national hubris. Download Full Image

“The idea of a national soul, or of a civil religion, is a staple of American politics,” said Peter Loge, the director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication and a political veteran. “But what candidates mean by it, and whether or not it’s more than a talking point, are open questions.”

“This discussion aims to bring theory and practice together,” said John Carlson, the interim director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. “The idea of a shared civic faith can look very different in academia than it does in the halls of Congress or in our communities. We hope our discussion finds ways to bridge these divides.” 

The event will take place over Zoom on April 1 at 3 p.m. MST/6 p.m. EST. It is free and open to the public.

The panel is:

  • John Carlson, interim director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, associate professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at ASU and co‐director of the Recovering Truth project.
  • Peter Loge, director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication and an associate professor at GWU.
  • André Gonzales, staff assistant in the U.S. Senate, a 2019 Truman Scholar and a current Truman‐Albright Fellow with the Harry S. Truman Foundation.
  • Nichole R. Phillips, director of the Black Church Studies Program, associate professor in the practice of sociology of religion and culture at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a senior faculty fellow at the Emory Center for Ethics.

The moderator is Rozina Ali, a fellow at Type Media Center. Her reporting and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, the Guardian, The New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Foreign Policy and others.

Get details and register for the event.

Written by Peter Loge