Campus Community Invited to Attend “Combating Polarization: A Symposium on Obstacles to Community”

Combating polarization symposium logo

The campus community is invited to participate in “Combating Polarization: A Symposium on Obstacles to Community” on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. A kickoff “People’s Supper” event for undergraduates will be held the previous day, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 6 p.m. in Old Chapel. 

This is the second year the campus is hosting a symposium on polarization and the People’s Supper. Both events are presented by the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Last February’s inaugural symposium on polarization provided historical context for the societal and political division we are increasingly facing. This fall’s symposium will focus on ways to combat polarization, better understand who we are as a community and develop a greater ability to engage across divides.

“As we have seen in recent years, a number of ideological, social and political issues continue to threaten to divide us as a community, as a nation and as a global community,” says Emmanuel Adero, senior director of diversity outreach assessment and planning in the Office of Equity & Inclusion. “While local and national news – including our election cycles – present the ingredients for more and deeper divisions, it is important that we understand why we are divided, and how we can continue to build strong communities across these divides.”

Featured speakers for the symposium include:

Colin Woodard, journalist and author of “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.”

Jamila Lyiscott, assistant professor of social justice education in the College of Education, and a community-engaged scholar and a spoken word artist

Sara Konrath, associate professor of philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and director of its Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research

The symposium includes dialogue opportunities to provide brave spaces for meaningful conversation across differing perspectives. The People’s Supper invites students to break bread with friends and strangers, and to talk about the experiences that rarely see the light of day. In keeping with the theme of the symposium, this People’s Supper will focus on students’ own experiences with polarization and will challenge participants to work to bridge these divides. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.