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Common Ground Initiative

Common Ground On the Road

SXSW

SXSW EDU: Free Speech & Civil Dialogue Online & On Campus

Dr. Julie Wollman and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, explored the future of free expression and strategies for facilitating civil dialogue in campus settings and online at this year's SXSW EDU conference on March 8. Learn more.

Meeting the challenges of the future in a polarized world.

Widener is proud to be leading the way as a university that values, teaches, and exemplifies the pursuit of common ground – a foundation for learning, citizenship, and success.

The faster the pace of local and global change and the more interconnected our world, the more we will encounter diverse perspectives. We need to find common ground to advance the good of all.

By encouraging and creating opportunities for students to talk about differences in open and respectful ways, Widener prepares them to achieve personal success and become active participants in a thriving democracy.

Widener deliberately engages students in challenging yet civil conversations that encourage students to:

  • Lead with integrity
  • Listen actively and openly
  • Have the courage to voice their beliefs
  • Respect different perspectives and opinions
  • Seek to understand before reacting
      

At a time when our nation is deeply polarized, it is important to honor all voices.

Honoring Diversity and Inclusion

We're All WidenerFor us, "We're All Widener” is more than a statement, it represents the culture of our university, a commitment to welcome and value diversity, a promise that we all belong, and a powerful call for respect, mutual understanding, and unity.

Widener's history of respectful listening and our dedication to courageous leadership and civic engagement make us unique. Our campus is a special place where students can feel comfortable sharing their different thoughts and experiences in an effort to find common ground.

Common Ground In Action

Widener kicked off the Common Ground Initiative in fall 2017 at an event held at the National Constitution Center.  The First Amendment: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World gathered students, faculty, and staff from across campus for a program that encouraged thoughtful discussion.

The initiative is ongoing. Faculty integrate opportunities across all disciplines to challenge students to have civil conversations that help them learn from and appreciate diverse perspectives. We recognize and celebrate that our students are tomorrow’s innovators and leaders who need to develop strategies to find common ground.

In addition to coursework, students can also work at finding common ground by:

  • Participating in the active political engagement group
  • Joining multicultural campus organizations
  • Watching political debates and attending group discussions
  • Leading panels and break-out sessions at events on and around campus
  • Attending on-campus diversity and inclusion events
  • Joining small-group discussions on common ground led by the university president

Learn more about the Common Ground Initiative: