The first Campus Conversation was held Wednesday, Sept. 7.
This new activity offered by Campus Ministries is designed to give students an outlet to discuss topics of interest to them in an open and informed setting.
This week’s Campus Conversation topic was “justice issues in Sioux City” and was hosted by Sandi Altena, executive director of The Bridge ministry in Sioux City, and social work professor, Val Stokes. They took turns speaking about what justice means to them.
For an hour, the group of 20 people discussed what they can do to fight injustice.
“Val and Sandi did a tremendous job leading meaningful conversation and challenging students to question our role in the struggle to end those situations around us we know are just not the way that they should be,” said Northwestern’s Americorps Vista Volunteer Coordinator, Lanet Hane.
For the first semester, Campus Conversation will be focusing on justice, spiritual disciplines and relationships. Discussion will be facilitated by an NW faculty or staff member. Occasionally off-campus guests participate as well.
“ I think it’s really valuable to set aside time to talk about big issues because sometimes we don’t do that on a day-to-day basis,” said junior Melissa Hassmann.
At the first meeting, students were encouraged to share their own thoughts, but they were also free to simply listen to what others had to say.
The small group setting made it easy for students to speak up.
“We talked about practical ways to be more aware of injustice. In a majority group it’s really easy to overlook injustice because it doesn’t affect majority groups as much,” Hassmann said.
The topic of providing justice in Sioux City was taken seriously, but the setting was casual and light.
Some of the topics discussed relate well to certain majors and can help students learn more about their particular field of study.
Campus Conversation is 10-11 p.m. Wednesdays in the Franken Center Meeting Room. The schedule of conversation topics for the entire semester is available on MyNorthwestern.