Participating in respectful, student-facilitated discussions is a key part of the Campus Conversations Project (CCP) at NC State. “[It’s] a sustained initiative on campus where students can have these dialogues with each other on issues that they may be hesitant to talk about,” Dr. Scott O’Leary, residential learning academic director and Honors and Scholars Village mentor, who oversees CCP, told the school paper, saying that such conversations help “develop an empathy and understanding of where people are coming from.” Bringing people with different viewpoints together is a main goal, he said.

Students are trained to be conversation facilitators. “The easiest way to get involved is to come to a conversation,” O’Leary said. “That’s how we want to build the model for the program.”

CCP partners with multiple campus organizations, from NC State University Libraries to the Living and Learning Communities, the Honors Village, Polk Scholars and more. Dr. Janice Odom, director of The Caldwell Fellows and another overseer of CCP, would like every student to be exposed to CCP. “Ideally, Campus Conversations will be part of the identity of NC State, and every freshman will be exposed to CCP,” she said. “That’s how we can make change — by exposing as many people as we can and hoping they can have a positive influence on others.”

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