Picking Up the Slack: How Recent Graduate Jesse Goldman Is Integrating His Passion into the Community

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Jesse Goldman

Slacklining is much more than just a leisurely past-time for UNCA alumnus Jesse Goldman. The activity, which involves balancing on a thin piece of webbing tensioned between two points, has lined up a world of opportunity for the recent graduate.  

In 2012 Goldman, a political science major, created Slack-Librium—an educational slackline organization that focuses on “building community and instilling positive cultural change through instructional slackline and mindfulness workshops at schools, festivals, camps and events across the country.” To put it simply, says Goldman, “the organization teaches balance—physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

Goldman’s fascination with slacklining began his freshman year, when friend and future business partner, Patrick Green, introduced him to the sport. He became enthralled with the activity and says he spent his first few months at school practicing on the Quad. “At the same time,” Goldman explains, “I began learning about mindfulness and contemplative practices in my freshman seminar class, called Transformation of the Body, Heart, Mind & Soul.”

He began to draw parallels between what he was learning in the class and his newfound hobby. Slacklining, like mindfulness, is all about present-moment awareness. “Once you understand the proper posture,” says Goldman, “all you need to do is practice body-awareness and keep yourself standing on top of the line.”

It was during a student campout during Goldman’s second semester at UNC Asheville that the idea for Slack-Librium was born, when he and Green organized a workshop combining for the campers combining both slacklining and mindfulness. During his sophomore year, Goldman decided to take Slack-Librium from concept to reality through the service learning component in his Health & Wellness course.

“Through the structure of this class, I was able to reach out to Asheville Middle School and gain permission to teach slacklining and mindfulness workshops in AMS gym classes for an entire week, says Goldman. “This program went so well that it developed into a grant project sponsored by UNC Asheville’s N.C. Center for Health & Wellness that brought two weeks of slackline and mindfulness programming into AMS gym classes.”

Goldman turned his findings into a research paper, “Walking Mindfully with Middle Schoolers: The Development of an Afterschool Slacklining Curriculum,” that was published in the Journal of Undergraduate Public Service Projects. Goldman was then connected with the In Real Life After-School Network at Asheville Middle School and has been providing after-school slackline and mindfulness programs there ever since.

 “UNC Asheville offered me an invaluable support system and environment to experiment with my ideas and lay the foundation for my business,” says Goldman. “I learned from so many brilliant people during my time at UNCA and the relationships I was able to develop with some of my professors outside of class added tremendous value to my experience.”

Goldman has advice for current students, as well: “Take advantage of every moment. If you are only showing up to class and completing homework assignments, in my opinion, you are wasting your time and money. No one is going to care that much about your GPA when you graduate. You need to be able to articulate what was valuable about your experience and what you spent your time doing.”

To learn more about Slack-Librium, visit: www.slacklibrium.com.