By Bridget Johnston || News Editor
On October 5th, F&M intends to cancel all classes and institute a Day of Dialogue between all members of the F&M student, faculty, and staff population.
According to Sophomore Isabel Monge, one of the student members of the Day of Dialogue planning committee, the Day of Dialogue is “a day that we want the campus to come together to talk about diversity and other different issues that have come up on campus in order to make our campus a more inclusive community.”
Last semester, in an effort to create a more welcoming, racially inclusive campus, the college houses and other institutions were encouraged to engage in different racial conversations and panels. However, the organizers found that the same participants came to each event. In order to include more people in the conversation, Catherine McClennand, professor of Sociology, proposed canceling classes for one day to promote conversations about diversity.
In fact, McClennand’s proposal follows a precedent set by F&M twenty five years ago, when the campus canceled classes for one day to create a space to celebrate commonality and diversity. However, this year the planning committee intends to make the point that the Day of Dialogue will not just last one day. The conversations will begin on October 5th, but will hopefully continue on F&M’s campus throughout the semester and will help community members rethink how the F&M community operates.
This year’s Day of Dialogue will feature a roughly thirty discussions with topics such as: Interfaith Speed Dating, How to Talk about Hair, The International Student Perspective, and Latino Identity in the US, among many others.
Different campus organizations will also be hosting lunches for the community. Interested students will be given assignments for their lunch at breakfast, the hope being that the participants will be able to talk and interact with different aspects of the campus community that they would not normally have the chance to meet.
Although the events are not mandatory, faculty members have been encouraged to work the day into their syllabus in a variety of ways in order to encourage the community to integrate the conversation with other disciplines. Sports teams and Greek organizations have also been strongly encouraged to attend.
That being said, the organizers have worked very hard to make the Day of Dialogue as fun and easy to get involved in as possible. The day-long event will include music, food, and plenty of free things. In addition, the day will close with a tailgate at the girl’s field hockey home game.
Professor Stephanie McNulty, head of the Day of Dialogue Planning Committee, explains, “It’s important that every person who is part of the community feels included and feels respected and so this is all a part of a long process of meeting that goal.”
The planning committee encourages all students and members of the F&M community to attend as many Day of Dialogue events as possible to make the most of the event. They would also like to remind any interested students to like the Facebook page and download their app (debuting September 26th) for additional updates as the event approaches.
Junior Bridget Johnston is the News Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.