Schreyer Honors College

Speaker, author Scott Fried facilitates online community sessions

Fried joins the Gender Equity Center, community partners for online community sessions geared toward adults and youth in grades 5-8

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The new virtual learning and living environment due to COVID-19 and social isolation has left many  people craving connections. The Gender Equity Center and various partners, including speaker/author Scott Fried, are trying to help fill the void of in-person interactions with two series focusing on finding and keeping community.

“Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing,” said Jennifer Pencek, programming coordinator of the Gender Equity Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs. “That’s why we have created these series with the primary goal of helping to make sure no one is really alone and that people have spaces to share what they are experiencing or just listen to the experiences of others.”

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

'A Chance to Exhale'

The first series — "A Chance to Exhale" — kicked off April 7. Those who were not able to participate on that date can still attend as many of the upcoming sessions as they like.

Drawing upon his 32 years of surviving and living with HIV, Fried will offer pertinent life skills and hard-won lessons to help people through this time. He will also give an opportunity to reflect on experiences and share heartwarming inspiration. These talks are not intended to be therapy or a form of counseling. This is intended for individuals 18 and older.

The next dates for the sessions are 7 p.m. Thursdays (April 16, 23, 30, and May 7). Access the sessions by visiting

Partners are the Gender Equity Center, Presidential Leadership Academy, Schreyer Honors College, Hillel, the Jana Marie Foundation, and Schlow Centre Region Library.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

'Stop. Breathe. Connect.'

The second series is geared toward families with youth in grades 5-8. "Stop. Breathe. Connect." begins Tuesday, April 14 at 5 p.m. and will continue Tuesdays (April 21, 28, and May 5) Children in grades 5-8 and their parents and guardians are invited to join us for weekly reflections on hope and healing in challenging situations. Fried will guide participants on a journey to find beauty within ourselves and the world during this difficult time. Through conversation and the opportunity to sit together, these sessions will celebrate the bond between caregiver and child.

Attendance is encouraged for each session, but not mandatory. Advanced registration is required by emailing to enroll. Prior to each session, participants will will receive a zoom link that will grant access into the room.

Partners include the Gender Equity Center, the Jana Marie Foundation, and Schlow Centre Region Library.


Last Updated April 09, 2020