Campus Conversations

College and University campuses are not unlike a Greek polis – a small, self-run City-State. Among its many missions, Higher Education can serve to develop the student as a citizen and as an active participant in the ongoing life of the campus community and beyond.

As such, campuses can be a fertile ground for embedding the principles of deliberative democracy in what we call Campus Conversations or Campus Deliberative Forums. Bridges, Dickert and Bonfini explore this in detail in the first part of their chapter, Deliberative Polling® in Pennsylvania: From Student Senate to State Senate.

Very often, the desire to organize a deliberative forum will arise from issues emerging on the campus itself, whether it be a controversial piece of public art or student concerns over free speech. The design of these forums can have significant advantages over other forms of student input and can highlight the advantages of bringing multiple perspectives and life-experiences to bear on a topic. Carnegie Mellon developed a Handbook on Campus Deliberative Forums for use by colleges and universities across the nation