Campus Café facilitates individual, communal development

From the perspective of Lisa Smith, dean of student engagement, students have two spaces to learn: the classroom and the campus community. For that reason, Smith and 45 students gathered in the Hazelrigg Student Union Room C for “Campus Café” on Feb. 21 to learn how to advance the campus community and participate effectively in future communities.

Campus Café closely resembles Fire Circle — a once-a-week gathering for students to share their thoughts and beliefs on campus — in its objective to teach students how to work in a community.

“A college campus is a giant, living classroom. It’s an opportunity for people to learn life skills, skills that they’ll take forward into their career, but most importantly into their future homes, their future relationships, our whole lives,” Smith said.

Campus Café is intended to help teach communal communication in a quick-paced and open environment. Smith also hopes that having events like these will help students learn how to get involved after graduation.

“What we’re envisioning collectively with (HC) 2.0 with the changes that are coming is ‘how do we create a culture at that is all the more preparation for the world that students will graduate into?’ which has a lot of unknowns. So I can’t teach people absolutes, but I can help people learn how to show up. Like, show up with diversity, appreciation, inclusive

behaviors, active listening, the care for all and things like that,” Smith said.

Administration also benefits from Campus Café by learning what students like or are concerned about. From there, they can address issues and improve the collegiate experience.

“Their responses are useful to us in variety of ways ... it brings students’ feedback into that loop ... ” Smith said. “All of it done with the student perspective is really important to us because that’s that authentic voice. If I were to take what they wrote and what they put down and I was to put my spin on it. I might come up with something very different.”

Campus Café was inspired by the work of Juanita Brown, author of “The World Café Book: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter.” The World Café method is designed to facilitate large group dialogue — as Smith puts it, a “dialogic experience.”

The first Campus Café was for invited students groups, including residence assistants, student government and the Welcome Home committee — previously known as the Week of Welcome committee. The goal was to test the process and decide if it is a good procedure for campus.

The procedure begins with a question for all students. After the question, students scatter to different tables and discuss their answers in small groups — about four per table. Some students share their ideas while others write down their ideas on a large sheet of paper.

After several minutes, the groups breaks off and goes to different tables to answer a new question.

“It’s not the same group that moves from one question to the next. (That’s) where you (would) start to have group-think, right? But it’s a fresh group of people every time. So it’s like a little flash of inspiration based on who you’re with,” Smith said.

The event also had banana splits, provided by Fresh Ideas, to help create a cafe setting.

“The idea is we’ve come together and meet people for dinner or coffee and then we start to have ideas and we kind of doodle on the back of a napkin or if it’s a paper, you know, tablecloth. We might start writing things down,” Smith said.

The last round of movement is called “synthesis.” Students go to a new table and then look at what was previously written. They then write down a summary of those responses. Smith says there are several ways of doing this but due to time, students their summaries shared aloud.

Smith hopes that the event will be entirely student-led in the future, similarly to how Fire Circle is currently run.

According to Smith, the Campus Café’s agreements of practice are rooted in the Hastings Habits and this event helps to enable the practice of those habits.

From the perspective of Lisa Smith, dean of student engagement, students have two spaces to learn: the classroom and the campus community. For that reason, Smith and 45 students gathered in the Hazelrigg Student Union Room C for “Campus Café” on Feb. 21 to learn how to advance the campus community and participate effectively in future communities.

Campus Café closely resembles Fire Circle — a once-a-week gathering for students to share their thoughts and beliefs on campus — in its objective to teach students how to work in a community.

“A college campus is a giant, living classroom. It’s an opportunity for people to learn life skills, skills that they’ll take forward into their career, but most importantly into their future homes, their future relationships, our whole lives,” Smith said.

Campus Café is intended to help teach communal communication in a quick-paced and open environment. Smith also hopes that having events like these will help students learn how to get involved after graduation.

“What we’re envisioning collectively with (HC) 2.0 with the changes that are coming is ‘how do we create a culture at that is all the more preparation for the world that students will graduate into?’ which has a lot of unknowns. So I can’t teach people absolutes, but I can help people learn how to show up. Like, show up with diversity, appreciation, inclusive

behaviors, active listening, the care for all and things like that,” Smith said.

Administration also benefits from Campus Café by learning what students like or are concerned about. From there, they can address issues and improve the collegiate experience.

“Their responses are useful to us in variety of ways ... it brings students’ feedback into that loop ... ” Smith said. “All of it done with the student perspective is really important to us because that’s that authentic voice. If I were to take what they wrote and what they put down and I was to put my spin on it. I might come up with something very different.”

Campus Café was inspired by the work of Juanita Brown, author of “The World Café Book: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter.” The World Café method is designed to facilitate large group dialogue — as Smith puts it, a “dialogic experience.”

The first Campus Café was for invited students groups, including residence assistants, student government and the Welcome Home committee — previously known as the Week of Welcome committee. The goal was to test the process and decide if it is a good procedure for campus.

The procedure begins with a question for all students. After the question, students scatter to different tables and discuss their answers in small groups — about four per table. Some students share their ideas while others write down their ideas on a large sheet of paper.

After several minutes, the groups breaks off and goes to different tables to answer a new question.

“It’s not the same group that moves from one question to the next. (That’s) where you (would) start to have group-think, right? But it’s a fresh group of people every time. So it’s like a little flash of inspiration based on who you’re with,” Smith said.

The event also had banana splits, provided by Fresh Ideas, to help create a cafe setting.

“The idea is we’ve come together and meet people for dinner or coffee and then we start to have ideas and we kind of doodle on the back of a napkin or if it’s a paper, you know, tablecloth. We might start writing things down,” Smith said.

The last round of movement is called “synthesis.” Students go to a new table and then look at what was previously written. They then write down a summary of those responses. Smith says there are several ways of doing this but due to time, students their summaries shared aloud.

Smith hopes that the event will be entirely student-led in the future, similarly to how Fire Circle is currently run.

According to Smith, the Campus Café’s agreements of practice are rooted in the Hastings Habits and this event helps to enable the practice of those habits.