Benedictine University launched its new social dialogue series, Ben Talks, on Wednesday, September 6th in the Hall of Leaders in Goodwin Hall. The monthly series will allow both Benedictine students and staff to discuss the social issues that are affecting society today.
“The idea for a dialogue series on current issues came about from feedback after the teach-in,” Global/Intercultural Programming Coordinator Megan Benham said, “We learned from conversations with students that students were looking for more forums to dialogue about topics and not just sit through lectures on topics.”
The first lecture of the series discussed the topic of white nationalism and was given by Benedictine professor Dr. Vincent Gaddis and Director of Student Engagement Joan Henehan. Although the first lecture of the series was led by staff members, it is the goal of the organizers to focus on the conversation of the students.
“We chose White Nationalism as the first topic after the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Benham said, “Many of us on campus are feeling alarmed by the violence and messages in that situation. At BenU, we want to help our community learn about issues, dialogue together, and practice peaceful conflict resolution.”
Students at the event thought that the university was helping to take a step in the right direction.
“I feel like the conversation is needed since this is a predominantly white institution,” Benedictine Student Jahaven Haye said, “I liked [the event], I just want it to be on a wider scale.”
“This is the first step to changing the culture of white supremacy,” Benedictine Student Jasma Williams said.
The Ben Talks series will continue on the first Wednesday of each month with a new topic and leaders for each new dialogue.
Omair Ali contributed to this article.