The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is an institution that believes in the power of every person and where every person and every interaction matters. These fundamental principles are what the Office of Diversity and Inclusion wants first-year students to learn during upcoming Husker Dialogues events.
Entering its fifth year, Nebraska’s Husker Dialogues program helps first-year students dig deeper into the reasons behind their beliefs and learn from the stories of peers, fostering inclusive excellence. Due to the global pandemic, Husker Dialogues will be a virtual experience this year, starting with a 7 p.m. Sept. 10 session.
The event gives participants tools to have difficult, but meaningful conversations centered on diversity and inclusion.
Charlene Maxey-Harris, interim associate dean of libraries, has witnessed the value of the program first hand, having served as a conversation guide.
“It’s great to start the year letting students know it’s OK to talk about diversity and inclusion, social justice, and these conversations are valued at our campus — letting students know that it’s okay to enter these conversations with whatever background they possess,” Maxey-Harris said.
Husker Dialogues gives students the safe space to openly discuss these topics, which Maxey-Harris said is important.
“The skill our campus community must develop is learning how to be genuinely curious about the values, perspectives and beliefs of others without becoming offended or threatened,” she said.
The program also teaches students the skills needed to build a more welcoming Husker community, including learning about dominant narratives and how to challenge them, as well as building an inclusive vocabulary to better engage with peers.
Marilyn Fenton, a business systems analyst and past Husker Dialogues volunteer, said the experience is a great experimental learning opportunity.
“We can all improve our responses when it comes to privilege and using old-fashioned aren’t inclusion,” Fenton said.
The Husker Dialogues committee continues to seek faculty and staff to volunteer for the upcoming sessions. Learn more about those opportunities here.
Husker Dialogues sessions are at 7 p.m. Sept. 10, 15, 16 and 17 via Zoom. All first-year Huskers are pre-assigned via Canvas a session to attend.