Dialogue Groups: Your invitation to participate!

Posted: January 15, 2015

Dear Students,

I hope you all had a great fall semester and winter break.

Last semester, we launched the IDEA Initiative, a comprehensive plan to align resources, programs, and events to advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Among the speakers who visited our campus to share their insights, facilitate conversations, and build community were Dr. Beverly Tatum, President of Spelman College, and Dr. Peggy McIntosh, author of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.”

This semester Sustained Dialogues Campus Network dialogue groups are being formed and I encourage you to participate!

On October 24 and 25, fifteen students participated in Sustained Dialogues Campus Network’s Inclusion Leadership Training Workshop. This two-day workshop focused on providing participants with the tools and skills to effectively navigate identity differences, learn to lead moderated dialogues, and brainstorm with other committed change agents to solve real community challenges. Rebecca Millberg, a sophomore at Scripps College, expressed, “The SDCN Moderator Training was extremely valuable, both for my personal growth and my leadership on the Scripps Campus. The training was my first experience with dialogue, and I really appreciated the continued emphasis on sharing experiences instead of simply sharing opinions because this allows exploration and analysis of critical issues such as race without the immediate defensiveness that can be found in academic discussion or debate.”

Scripps junior Jasmine Kusumowidagdo also participated in the training and shared, “I appreciated learning different techniques and vocabulary to build “brave spaces.” I was surprised by how many of the participants expressed feeling alone at some point, not just because we have been a minority, but also because others who hadn’t had that shared experience didn’t express interest in learning about it. The big takeaway for me was that as individuals we have a lot to gain by expanding our circle of concern. It’s important to participate in dialogues on identity that don’t seem immediately applicable to us.”

After completing the training, many participants spoke highly of the workshop and applied to become paid moderators to lead dialogue groups. I am thrilled to announce that Ella Shahn ’18, Rachel Berner-Hays ’17, Sara Bryk ’18, and Shanisha Coram ’17 will be leading a series of dialogue groups this semester that will focus on topics such as marginalization on campus, race, socioeconomic status, political differences, and loneliness. They have all shown a unique awareness and understanding of the Scripps community, and I am confident that they will lead valuable and productive dialogue groups next semester.

Each pair of moderators will be recruiting members for two dialogue groups of 8-15 students each. Groups will begin meeting later this month for one hour for a total of six times throughout the semester. If you are interested in being a part of a dialogue group, please look for more information in the coming weeks from the moderators. Meanwhile, feel free to reach out to any of the moderators if you have any questions.

Change at Scripps starts with individuals who take part in meaningful discussions about central community challenges. I invite you all to participate in a dialogue group next semester and create the change you wish to see at Scripps!


Denise Nelson Nash
Vice President/Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Convener of  IDEA

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