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© Nick Walding/GSI

Our Internal Culture

Community and culture is one of the most important aspects of the GSI.

As part of our culture we champion kindness, wellbeing and community within GSI because too often as academics we feel over worked, stressed and under recognised by our colleagues and our employers.

At GSI we understand that co-locating people and building a research network isn’t enough to build a community. People need to be free to interact, share and importantly be supportive of one another as well as have a bit fun! Therefore, we aim to foster a pro-social atmosphere within the GSI and treat people as individuals in order to best develop our collective potential toward generating sustainable solutions into the Earth’s future.

You can find out about our growing number of initiatives below.

Growing Gratitude

David Hume wrote ‘Of all crimes that human creatures are capable of committing, the most horrid and unnatural is ingratitude’ this affects our relationships with one another, animals and the planet, so is critical to all aspects of GSI.

Gratitude is an emotion, a virtue and a moral sentiment. It is not simply a social construct; it is has deep roots embedded in our evolutionary history, our brains and DNA. Nearly all animals engage in ‘reciprocal altruism’. There are specific areas in the brain involved in gratitude and specific genes that may underlie our ability to express it (see the White paper for the John Templeton Foundation but the GGSC, UC Berkeley).

Gratitude has been described as a social glue where research suggests that gratitude inspires people to be more generous, kind, and helpful (or ‘prosocial’) and strengthens relationships, including improving the community in workplaces.

Gratitude is a two-step process:

1)      recognising that one has obtained a positive outcome

2)      recognising that there is an external source for this positive outcome

So often do we fail to recognise our own daily successes and therefore assume that it goes without recognition. We at GSI want to break this cycle to build a community that is kind and responsive to our colleagues and throughout collaborations to improve our working environment.

As part of this we offer those in the GSI the opportunity to send notes of gratitude to their colleagues to build a culture around recognition of even the smallest of things, that make our community more positive as a part of our Let’s Grow Gratitude initiative. In order to send one of your colleagues a gratitude postcard please complete this online form and we will send out a GSI designed, sustainably sourced hand-written post-card with your unique message direct to their office.

And yes, the hand written old fashioned post-cards are a deliberate choice too. Emails are a source of stress and perceived as impersonal. Wouldn’t it make a hard day seem better if you received a note of gratitude? Wouldn’t it make you feel valued?

Let’s grow and share our gratitude throughout our community and start making Gratitude Cultural Shifts.

GSI Yoga

GSI will be offering free online yoga classes for the duration of the lockdown whilst we all adapt to the new working arrangements. A chance to de-stress, rebalance, refocus and breathe.  The class is led by the brilliant Dominique Preston, and delivered live into your homes at 1pm on Wednesdays. If you would like to join the class and haven't received information, please contact Professor Claire Belcher. All abilities welcome.