Student Affairs

Guiding Questions & Themes

This year’s sessions at the Summit are intended to help advance an understanding of methods for productive and respectful dialogue around divisive issues as well as those that focus on how to be an active citizen beyond exercising the right to vote. Session workshops, panels, and programs will be highly participatory and encourage learning, interaction, connections, and strategic action. The themes and guiding questions include:

Understanding Democracy

  • What can we learn from the political systems in other countries, and the rise and fall of democracies around the world? 
  • What is the state of American democracy and have similar circumstances existed before (in the U.S. or elsewhere)?
  • What is causing party polarization and what does it mean for the future of American democracy?
  • How do we ensure both freedom and equality coexist in American society?
  • What are democratic values and do they still exist in the U.S.?
  • What are the implications of the results from the 2018 midterm elections?
  • Is democracy, as Yoni Appelbaum argues, an “acquired habit?”  If so, how does one acquire the habit of democracy?  How do we teach democracy?

Participatory Democracy and Deliberative Dialogue

  • What local organizations can students get involved with to participate in advocacy and community organizing?
  • How do we navigate difficult conversations on hot button political issues with friends and familiar members who may disagree with us?
  • How do we bring together students from opposite sides of the political spectrum to engage in dialogue?
  • How can staff and faculty serve as nonbiased moderators when facilitating discussions on divisive issues?
  • How do we respectfully engage in political conversations on social media?
  • Given the flood of information and the complexities of some of the issues at hand, how should individuals make informed decisions about candidates and issues?