KINGSTON, R.I- Sarah Miller, the assistant director for experiential education at the Center for Career and Experiential Education sat for a few minutes in shock when she found out she won the Peace Award for Staff on March 8.
Miller won the award for helping people cope with pandemic-related issues and to develop their peace of mind through mindfulness practices. This led to a significant contribution to inner peace, career, and shelter for the University of Rhode Island students and the greater community in Rhode Island.
Before coming to URI, Miller previously worked in community engagement in higher education at Campus Compact in New Hampshire. At Campus Compact, she wanted to focus on helping college students find their voice in the community.
After completing a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut, she was excited to start her first role at URI as Community Engagement Coordinator for the Feinstein Center for Service Learning.
“I did a lot of work with the service and community engagement initiatives that engaged with different groups across campus and in the community,” Miller said.
For more than 10 years, Miller has volunteered with South County Habitat for Humanity, serving on the Board of Directors from 2016-2022, and completing five years on the Executive Committee, three of those as president.
Miller became involved with the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies over the years through service and community events but engaged more closely when she attended the Virtual International Nonviolence Summer Institute in the summer of 2020.
“It was a wonderful way to deepen my understanding of peace and how to support peace in the community,” according to Miller.
In 2019, Miller and a few colleagues started a mindfulness meditation group called URiMindful where a group of rotating facilitators lead a group meditation on Tuesdays virtually from 12:15-12:45 p.m. These mindfulness sessions are free and open to all interested students, staff, alums, and the public. As a certified Koru Mindfulness instructor, Miller also offers free Koru Mindfulness classes a couple of times a year.
“It’s wonderful to be able to support the work of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the things they are doing in helping everyone in the URI community find resources for peace, balance, and well-being,” Miller said. “I try to support and attend as many Center events as possible. URI is fortunate to have such an outstanding resource on campus.”
Finally, Miller suggests incorporating mindfulness by acknowledging one to two things you’re grateful for every day. She suggested that when you’re walking across campus, try putting your phone down, notice where you are, and observe what you see and hear around you.
“It’s an awesome way to hone that skill and cultivate that ability as much as possible,” Miller said.