CMU Listens

CMU Listens started in the Spring of 2017 as part of a Fifth Year Scholar project aimed at supporting dialogues across differences. The motivation for this initiative has its roots in the pursuit of justice and deep kindness, as well as a desire for Carnegie Mellon students to pause and engage with life outside the CMU bubble.

CMU Listens trained our first team of student facilitators in Fall 2017 and held our first off-campus retreat in Spring 2018. Since then, CMU Listens has facilitated dialogues as part of the MLK Community Celebration, hosted a booth as part of Fresh Check Day, led a development session for staff in the Division of Student Affairs, and more. 

Currently, we host workshops and retreats to spread awareness of active listening and listening techniques. We host an annual retreat at the beginning of the spring semester that is open to all members of the CMU community. Like most organizations, we have moved all activities online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our remote environment makes active listening skills more relevant than ever.

We are always looking for new facilitators or collaborators! If you are interested in CMU Listens’ workshops or would like to collaborate with us, please contact us at


CMU Listens hosts an annual retreat in the spring to bring together CMU students who are enthusiastic or curious about active listening. The retreat is entirely student led, and all retreat participants are given the opportunity to bring their unique experience to the table by leading a session of their own choosing.

If you want to get involved with the retreat, please submit this form


CMU Listens hold workshops for campus organizations to help them more effectively pursue their missions and engage with students from every corner of campus. In our workshops, we emphasize the importance of listening, dialogue, and empathy, and helping members of the organizations develop these skills.

The Team

Annie Ooi

Annie Ooi

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Year: Senior
Major: Materials Science and Engineering & Engineering and Public Policy
Hobbies: Arts & crafts, watching kdramas, listening to music
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

“Active listening is crucial to helping us feel truly connected to one another. CMU Listens aims to help people build better relationships and stronger communities.”

Joyce Wu

Joyce Wu

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Year: Junior
Major: Information Systems and Computer Science
Hobbies: guitar, singing, kickboxing
Hometown: Cupertino, California

“CMU Listens is a community of people who care about developing their listening skills. It helps me remember to stay more connected with people and nurture healthy relationships.”


Tara Christian

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Year: Senior
Major: Ethics, History, and Public Policy
Hobbies: Painting, baking, theater, watching HGTV and dreaming about cool window sills
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

“The best place to be is a community where you feel heard and understood. We all deserve to belong and know that we are appreciated, and effective conversations are a key first step.”


Kevin Liu

Pronouns: he/him/his
Year: Sophomore
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hobbies: playing the violin, hacking, experimental cooking
Hometown: Mason, Ohio

“Active listening is a skill that follows you everywhere. In my personal and professional life, active listening has drawn me closer to my loved ones, has made me a more effective team member and also helped me understand myself.”


Cameron Monteith

Pronouns: he/him/his
Year: Sophomore
Major: Creative Writing & Film and Media Studies
Hobbies: Photography, trumpet-ing, rewatching Community, playing with my dogs
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

“CMU Listens gives me great techniques in order to better communicate and understand new people. 'Communication' isn’t just about speaking to people, but also being able to let others speak!”


Workshops can be held anytime during the academic year according to your organization’s request.
We are always looking for excited people to join our facilitator team! Send an email to either Annie Ooi or Joyce Wu expressing your interest, and we will follow up. All retreat participants will also have the opportunity to join the facilitator team.
Please feel free to reach out to any of us to have a conversation! We would love to sit down with you and hear your perspective.