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Opportunities for Students

Building Understanding in a Divided World

  • Politics

    9 in 10 U.S. adults say there is conflict between people who support different political parties in America today.

  • Race

    7 in 10 say there are divisions between people of different races or ethnicities in U.S. society.

  • Facts

    6 in 10 say people can’t agree on basic facts.


The Dialogue Zone offers many ways for students to build understanding in a divided world.


Every semester, the Dialogue Zone hosts conversations on a variety of topics.  In these conversations, participants explore challenging topics relevant to contemporary society in small groups with the help of one or more trained facilitators.  The goal of these conversations is to build understanding among people, given their diverse backgrounds, experiences, knowledge, and viewpoints.  Many conversations take place over a single morning or afternoon; however, some extend over multiple sessions, allowing the participants to build trust, explore their experiences in greater depth, and strengthen their relationships. 


The Dialogue Zone offers workshops that students can take to build skills for engaging in dialogue.  Topics include listening for understanding, asking effective questions, managing conflict, and exploring the stories that people tell about their experiences.  Some workshops focus on specific contexts, such as engaging others in political conversations, communicating across cultures, overcoming racism, or using dialogue as a means of organizational learning.  Some workshops give students an opportunity to earn PATH credit towards student housing in the coming year.

UDI 269 Intergroup Dialogue

Students can participate in a form of sustained conversation called intergroup dialogue.  Intergroup dialogue is a process of facilitated conversation through which a group of participants explores over multiple sessions critical issues through the lens of differing social identities. Intergroup dialogues can be organized in terms of race, gender, socioeconomic class, religion, nationality, or any other social identity.  Examples include dialogues exploring the experiences of Christians, Muslims, and Jews; Republicans and Democrats; Blacks and Whites; domestic and international students; or men, women, and non-binary persons.  Participants are not asked to speak for any group, yet attention is given to ensuring that different identities are more-or-less equally represented.  Students can earn course credit for participating in an intergroup dialogue by registering for UDI 269 Intergroup Dialogue, a one-credit mini-course.

UDI 272 Facilitating Dialogue

Students who want to learn how to facilitate dialogue in the work, academic life, or in the community can take UDI 272 Facilitating Dialogue, a one-credit hour mini-course.  Students learn principles and practices for facilitating challenging conversations with the aim of fostering understanding. They also increase their capacity to ask questions, to paraphrase, to establish community norms, and other basic skills for facilitating dialogue.  Students explore how power intersects with various social identities and learn how to surface and question dominant narratives, to evoke counter-narratives, and to balance power among the viewpoints expressed in the dialogue. 

Student Facilitators

Students can work for the Dialogue Zone as one of its student facilitators.  Student facilitators are part-time employees of the Dialogue Zone.  They help to develop and facilitate the Dialogue Zone’s programs, especially those focusing on the needs and interests of students.  They carry out many of the social media and promotional activities of the Dialogue Zone.  They also assist with administrative tasks, such as registration and assessment.  Student facilitators play a key role in building partnerships with student groups and organizations on campus and help the Dialogue Zone understand their needs and concerns.  To work as a student facilitator, students must either have completed or enroll in UDI 272 Facilitating Dialogue upon hiring.  In the latter case, continued employment is contingent upon completing this course.

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By educating the mind and the heart, the school can form people who in turn can work at changing the very structures of their society to ensure a community of justice and reconciliation.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade