About Sustained Dialogue (SD)
The Sustained Dialogue program was brought to campus because student leaders demanded change. From the beginning, the program has been informed by student experiences and the vision of a more a socially just and equitable camps. Sustained Dialogue is a 5-phase dialogue to action program guided by The Sustained Dialogue Institute. There are SD groups in 12 countries, 4 communities, 10 workplaces, and 44 campuses worldwide.
How it Works
SD gathers graduate and undergraduate student participants from diverse backgrounds into small groups that meet regularly to build relationships and develop informed strategies to improve their campuses and communities, especially around the following dimensions of identity:
Race, Mental Health, Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status/Class, Age, Sexual Orientation, Political Affiliation, Sex & Gender, Religion, Ability, Citizenship.
Groups incorporate the following elements:
- Multiple dialogue groups of up to 10 students meet for a quarter.
- Two trained peer moderators lead each dialogue group.
- SJE staff support groups logistically and host bi-weekly team meetings to provide support and additional training.
SD is sustained in three ways:
1. Participants: Each SD group maintains the same participants and moderators.
2. Agenda: Each meeting is designed to continue where the last ended.
3. Time: Dialogues meet consistently at an appointed weekly time for at least an hour.
After participating in Sustained Dialogue, students are...
Significantly more likely to:
- Think critically about the experiences of others and how they can be improved
- Feel comfortable talking about their experiences and identities in front of a groups of their peers
- Try to better understand someone else’s views by imagining how an issue looks from their perspective
- Examine the strengths and weaknesses of their own views on a topic or issue
- Raise awareness about local or campus issues
- Organize others to work on local or campus issues, as well as on state, national, or global issues
- Have discussions with people who are different from them
Significantly more able to:
- Resolve conflicts that involve bias, discrimination, and prejudice
- Lead a group where people from different backgrounds feel welcomed and included
- Explain the college climate towards diversity, issues that arise between students, and why issues persist
Dialogue is traditionally conducted face-to-face. The face-to-face element is central in being able to humanize and empathize with others, to create deep authentic relations, and to listen attentively and actively. In order to best replicate this connection in the virtual space, we encourage you to be camera-on if you can, though we understand barriers to this.
Students will be expected to have personal and challenging conversations, we do not recommend taking this seminar virtually if you do not have access to an environment that will allow you to engage in these dialogues safely and with the privacy you may desire.
"We understand that everyone has room for growth in understanding oppression, power and privilege. Sustained Dialogue is a space in which all NU students can learn from one another. Whether or not you are actively engaged in these conversations already, if you are willing to speak truth to your experience and challenge yourself, we invite you to join Sustained Dialogue; and then we challenge you to seek out the many other options you have on this campus for challenging oppressive systems." - Former Sustained Dialogue Leadership Team: Ariana Seals, Kate Gladstone, Matt Herndon, Vicky Ho, Xiomara Contreras in a Letter to the Editor, The Daily Northwestern
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.