Office of Student Life


"Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication." P.M. Forni, co-founder of the Civility Institue at John Hopkin's. 

What is Civility?

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Community Safety 
  • Values-Based Decision Making 

Examples of Civility: 

  • Saying please and thank you
  • Listening to understand and help
  • Respecting those different from us
  • Acknowledging our mistakes
  • Stopping at a red light
  • Giving directions to someone who is lost
  • Yielding with grace when losing an argument
  • Disagreeing with poise
  • Welcoming a new neighbor
  • Throwing away a piece of trash left by someone else


Student Civility Recommended Reading List

Interested in learning more about civility? Check out the following list of books, TED talks and online resources!


Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential-and Endangered by Maia Szalavitz and Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Fives Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni, PhD

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman, PhD

People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts by Robert Bolton, PhD

The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude by P.M. Forni, PhD

The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael Nichols, PhD

TED Talks

Civility by Shelby Scarbrough, TEDxNapaValley 2016

Civility and Citizenry by Diana Laufenberg, TEDxGrandForks 2014 

The Force of Civility by Diana Damron, TEDxWhitefish 2015 

Online Articles and Resources

Civility in America: An Annual Nationwide Survey published by Weber Shadwick

George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation published by Foundations Magazine