Leading NC State in Civic Conversations: The Campus Conversations Project

Fulfilling NC State’s land-grant purpose to serve the citizens of our state requires the investment of instilling this mission in NC State undergraduates, our future leaders. High Impact Practices, education through experiential learning, is the most powerful means for the University to bridge its outreach mission to undergraduate development.  O&E is proud to provide the platform for student-led projects whose missions are to advance civic consciousness and skills to bridge differences and deepen democratic engagement.

Leading NC State in Civic Conversations: The Campus Conversations Project

Since its inception less than three years ago, the Campus Conversations Project has rapidly become a model for civic conversation across our campus and beyond. Designed on the model of Living Room Conversations, CCP operates on the premise that healing divides starts with conversation and that skills of deep listening and respectful conversation can be developed with guidance and practice. CCP-trained student facilitators have been guiding campus conversations in curricular and co-curricular spaces across NC State. These volunteers are supported by a team of NC State staff and faculty volunteers who support their work by garnering resources and enabling campus connections.   

Student Founder, Cyrus Rad, was recently recognized by North Carolina Campus Compact for being the 2021 Community Impact Student Award winner for NC State. A 2021 graduate of the College of Engineering, Cyrus has continued as co-leader of CCP into his current role as a graduate student in electrical engineering. Cyrus and co-leader Lily Morrell (senior) have trained 128 student facilitators for the Campus Conversations Project. These facilitators have led 37 conversation events reaching 968 participants. Campus Partners include University Libraries, Honors & Scholars Village, Caldwell Fellows, The Department of Communications, Shelton Leadership Program,  NC State Outreach & Engagement, and ‘Wicked Problems’ – the introductory summer orientation course for incoming freshmen at NC State. Inspired by the student-led campus-wide impact of CCP, Braver Angels filmed a teaching documentary of the CCP model.

A newly formed partnership with Winston-Salem State offers a cross-institutional conversation led by student facilitators from both NC State and WSSU that is launching this November.

Elevating NC State’s Rich Diversity: We the Pack

A strategic component to civic conversations at NC State is the rich diversity of our campus community. Elevating stories of our campus members is the mission of “We The Pack.” Like the Campus Conversations Project, We the Pack is an outgrowth of The Caldwell Fellows program. Inspired by the Instagram phenomenon, “Humans of New York,” We the Pack team members interview NC State staff, faculty and students, capture images and create the profiles that convey the rich patchwork that form the fabric of our community.

Claire Hill (class of 2023) leads a team of Caldwell Fellows in this work.