This past Friday, the DCI started off the new year with some fantastic energy when it held its Spring Semester Kickoff Party. Over 50 people came out to enjoy some pizza and conversation about a wide range of topics. They included Davidson students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members, some of whom had never heard of the DCI and others who were DCI veterans.
Attendees filled up tables in the College Union’s Atrium that were dedicated to different topics – Davidson Issues, Technology and Social Media Issues, International Issues, US Politics, Economic Issues, and more. DCI Fellows facilitated informal discussions of questions related to each table’s topics, aided by copies of the DCI’s Conversation Agreements and Deliberative Dispositions that were available as placemats at each table. For the adventurous, there were a couple of “mystery tables” where questions from a wide range of domains were discussed.
Every 15 minutes or so, the DCI’s Faculty Director and Assistant Director spoke briefly about upcoming DCI events and offered some deliberative tips to the attendees. At each interlude, one attendee was randomly selected to win a prize from the DCI for attending the event. And then the conversations continued! Participants could stay at their table or switch between tables to try out different topics.
It was a great way for students to connect with each other as well as engage with faculty, staff, and community members. And everyone got to experience a deeper and more respectful kind of conversation than they might normally have in our highly polarized and politically fragmented society. It provided a window into what the DCI is focused on – building democracy, one conversation at a time – and a gateway to other DCI programs, including our Spring D Teams on Education Issues (registration deadline January 25) and upcoming Deliberative Forum on AI (registration deadline January 31).