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Things We Don’t Talk About At Dinner: Politics


On Monday September 11th, the Center of  

Community Engagement hosted one of their educational and conversational dinners. Not only  

does everyone enjoy Tijuana Flats, but the discussion topic piqued many students’ interests.  

Director Kevin Winchell and Graduate Assistant  

Maggie Hervey put together a safe space for  

Students in attendance to share their thoughts on 



Graduate Assistant Maggie Hervey led the presentation with healthy ground rules and expectations for students in attendance to ensure a safe environment.  

With the guidance of Kevin Winchell, Maggie provided topics for 

small group discussions between tables of four to eight students. Participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves as well as provide a brief introduction on how and when they began their interest in politics. Some students shared that their parents were influential, some shared that they came to a comfort with politics in college, and others shared that big events such as the election of former President Barack Obama played a major role in their political awareness. Every student was given the opportunity to raise their hand to speak and be heard. Politics can be a tricky conversation, but that does not mean anyone should feel uncomfortable expressing themselves. It was evident after the first 15 minutes that the students were in a well regulated and a non-confrontational environment.

After introductions, while enjoying tacos and queso, each table began answering given prompts on various political questions. By helping lead the discussion, Hervey and Winchell created a dialogue that was both structured and free flowing as the conversation continued.  Students were given the chance to talk both in smaller groups, and as a whole with direction from both Winchell and Hervey. All three of the given prompts were fair and neutral allowing for students to engage respectfully with one another’s opinions. Conversations swirled around topics such as the economy, education and low income. Students were encouraged to hear one another out, and not engage in debate but rather dialogue and discussion. To foster a healthy political conversation it is necessary that participants talk to one another rather than over one another, as pointed out by Winchell.

The night concluded with larger discussion and a final wrap up. It was evident that healthy conversation was had and many students appeared surprised by the similarities they found in their beliefs with their peers. The event as whole was a safe environment with student diversity and inclusion, both of which help institute the values of Stetson University but specifically Intellectual Development. Political conversation can be uncomfortable however, the event proved that perhaps politics can be discussed at the dinner table. Moving forward the university should continue to push more events engaging the student body in a neutral way to foster healthy conversation and educational experiences. Overall, the event was a success and most definitely earns a political thumbs up from me.  

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Lili Sheridan
Lili Sheridan, Staff Writer

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