Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Sustained Dialogue, facilitating diversity

“Sustained Dialogue is a program that Augustana is offering that brings together people from across the campus to discuss difficult topics and come up with actions to improve the campus community” says Dean Evelyn Campbell.
About 60 people participated in Sustained Dialogue this year, and Dean Campbell and Pareena Lawrence hope to expand participation to 300 people in the 2016-17 school year. Participation includes both students, faculty, and staff.
The two goals are to “equip people to honestly talk about very difficult topics in an open manner and to identify and implement solutions” says Campbell
“Sustained Dialogue is based on building transformational relationships. Small groups come together to share their personal experiences, build trust in the group, and uncover the roots of the challenges being discussed with the goal of building better relationships and ultimately a better community for all” adds Pareena Lawrence
According to the Augustana website, the student body is made up of about “2,500 students from diverse social, ethnic, religious, cultural and geographic backgrounds, representing more than two-thirds of the United States and about 20 countries.”
Sustained Dialogue can be the means by which Augustana creates a more welcoming community for people of all different backgrounds on campus.
“Augustana needs to become a more inclusive and welcoming community that values and cherishes diversity, broadly defined, and is responsive to the changing needs of our community” says Lawrence
Student Dylan James is a part of a Sustained Dialogue group called Building Bridges: International and Domestic students. Building Bridges is about bringing together student groups that usually would not communicate.
“Many of us, myself included, are guilty of being ignorant, and this program is designed to really learn a lot about someone’s personality and their culture, which is invaluable- specifically at a liberal arts institution” says James
One of the specific goals of Building Bridges, and Sustained Dialogue as a whole, is to guarantee that all backgrounds on campus are recognized.
“It’s extremely important to communicate about real world issues such as gender, class, and race while maintaining a level or respect for that person speaking, because every student will find themselves in a similar situation later in life” says James
On the evening of May 9th, Sustained Dialogue will host a promotional event where they will unveil some plans for the future that have been a part of this year’s efforts. They will also strive to encourage students, faculty, and staff to join the experience next year.
“If you participate in a Sustained Dialogue group, you will meet once a week with two trained moderators and about 12 other people, including faculty, staff, and students. You will discuss a topic like ‘diversity and inclusion’ and learn to listen and share in mutually respectful setting” says Campbell
Beyond bettering the campus community, Sustained Dialogue is an opportunity for students to expand their resume, learn how to encounter problems of diversity head on, and communicate with people different than themselves.
“One of the main goals of Sustained Dialogue is to identify an action plan that can be implemented to improve the Augustana experience” says Campbell

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Sustained Dialogue, facilitating diversity