First-year students can listen to their peers discuss topics like resilience and mental health at the fourth annual Husker Dialogues.
Husker Dialogues is a diversity and inclusion event designed to teach first-year students how to have meaningful conversations and create an inclusive community at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, according to UNL’s Diversity and Inclusion website. UNL Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will host the event on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
“Diversity of thought is a hallmark of American education,” Charlie Foster, director of the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services, said in an email. “However, we don’t get the full benefit if we never talk to others who may hold different thoughts, beliefs or experiences.”
Every year, OASIS employees look for different student speakers for the event, according to Foster. At previous Husker Dialogues, student speakers have talked about their experiences with diversity, facing prejudice, immigration and sexuality. Foster said similar topics will be discussed at this year’s event.
The student stories are focused on what’s important to them and their identity, Foster said. She said she believes having a student perspective at the event makes it exciting and she hopes students will focus on hearing the experiences of their peers.
Rhonda Taylor, office manager for OASIS, said she feels having students speak about their experiences on campus will help first-year students relate to their peers.
“You have that empathy for someone else,” she said. “You have that realization that you’re not the only one or that you can have that connection with someone else.”
Although Husker Dialogues is targeted toward first-year students, Taylor said she feels that everyone can benefit from this event and learn to be more open-minded.
“We all seem to have biases,” she said. “[Husker Dialogues] could expose [students] to something they haven’t been exposed to.”
Taylor said she hopes that the event will help students, faculty and staff have the same type of conversations beyond Husker Dialogues.
Students will participate in small group discussions following the student speakers, according to the UNL events page.
Foster said she loves seeing students having civil conversations, a behavior she feels is indicative of a true focus on learning.
“I cannot learn to cook a cake with my peer if I am yelling at them while they tell me the ingredients,” she said. “Having civil conversations is good for us all.”