Bring It to the Table to promote civil conversations

Flyer for the event on Monday. (Photo courtesy of What 2 do @ TCU.)

Flyer for the event on Monday. (Photo courtesy of What 2 do @ TCU.)

By Kristen Clarke

Flyer for the event on Monday. (Photo courtesy of What 2 do @ TCU.)
Flyer for the event on Monday. (Photo courtesy of What 2 do @ TCU.)

On the same night of the first debate in one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in modern history, TCU will be focused on toning down the rancor and instead promoting civil discussions.

TCU is hosting a session of Bring It to the Table, a nationally recognized program about learning to listen and understand other people’s points of view rather than making assumptions or getting defensive.

Filmmaker Julie Winokur will lead the presentation of Bring It to the Table. The event is an interactive exchange where she shares her 40-minute documentary film, followed by Table Talks with members of the audience.

Afterward, participants engage in a series of conversations using the Table Talk method, where people can discuss issues that each presidential candidate has expressed and explore their ideas.

Table Talks are conversations with an intentional approach, where the objective is to listen and learn from someone else rather than trying to convince others of your point of view.

“We literally take turns asking and answering a series of questions aimed at uncovering why we believe what we believe,” said Winokur. “The goal is remove any need to feel defensive and try to understand the personal experiences that shape our opinions.”

Winokur said the talks are meant to “inspire healthy discourse on issues that typically divide us.”

These  issues might be difficult to discuss, but Winokur says it is possible.

“We’ll tackle some really compelling, tough topics, but using an approach that encourages civility, authenticity and nuanced thinking,” said Winokur. 

Winokur’s documentary was filmed as she traveled across the country listening to people share their beliefs. She helped them unpack the root of those beliefs to help promote understanding. Now she travels to universities nationwide bringing her story and the documentary.

A 90 minute session for faculty will be held before the event, which sparked positive responses. 

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kathy Cavins-Tull said, “Although we may not agree with each other, there is value in hearing different opinions and allowing students to choose what is right for them.” 

At the conclusion of the event, students will recieve voter registration information. SGA will also host a viewing of the first election debate on Monday.

Student activities coordinator, Ali Stowe said, “We look forward to building a stronger Horned Frog community through this event.”