Heading: Take Action

In addition to participating in one of our highlighted events and taking part of the exciting dialogue opportunities in the community, there are several ways you can engage in practices of civil discourse.

  • Consider taking the small but meaningful step of reflecting on how you relate to your friends, family, and co-workers with our Conversation Guide.
  • Learn more through podcasts, videos, books and national organizations with our list of Resources below.
  • In addition to the PSCD Program events, find local events that support practices of civil discourse and community conversations on our In the Community page.

Do you know of an event or resource that is not posted? Let us know, and we can help spread the word!


Subheading: Resources

Sustained Dialogue Institute: The Sustained Dialogue Institute helps people to transform conflictual relationships and design change processes around the world, and to improve community capacity to engage differences as strengths while helping people move from dialogue to action.

GVSU - Election 2020: GVSU is a community of learners who share a mission to “educate students to transform our lives, professions, and society.” As we seek to fulfill this mission and our commitment to educating students as active, global citizens, we are all sure to be challenged by ideas and experiences that are different from our own, and we will encounter difficult and challenging situations. During the 2020 election season, it is imperative that we maintain an ethic of respect and care for one another across difference, and that through this polarized election season, we maintain our deep commitment to our values of inclusion, equity, and community. The resources shared on this site are meant to provide education and support to our campus community.

Not So Fast: This campaign aims to empower, educate and inspire everyone to slow down and take the time to question, analyze, and verify the news and social media they encounter, and to instill confidence in fact-based inquiry, civil discussion, and curiosity to become responsible digital citizens.

Living Room Conversations: Healing divides starts with conversation, and this website provides a conversational model developed by dialogue experts to facilitate connection between people despite their differences. Explore current topics of conversation and join and upcoming online conversation event to experience it for yourself.

  • Race and Ethnicity: A Special Three-Part Series by Living Room Conversations: Sign up for this 3-part webinar, taking place February 14, 21, and 28 from 1:30-3pm to explore the complexities of the concepts of Race, Ethnicity, and their impacts on people from all walks of life.

The National Conversation Project: The National Conversation Project—an  overarching collaborative platform powered by the ~250 organizations in the #ListenFirst Coalition—is designed to reach farther and impact greater than any one organization by aggregating, aligning, and amplifying the many conversation efforts already underway while welcoming more Americans into conversations. National Conversation Project promotes National Weeks of Conversation, #ListenFirst Fridays, and any conversation inviting people of different perspectives to revitalize America together.

Everyday Democracy: Everyday Democracy supports organizing across the country by bringing diverse groups of people together, helping them structure and facilitate community dialogue on pressing issues, and training them to use a racial equity lens to understand longstanding problems and possible solutions. 

Civic Dinners: Civic Dinners help bring people together to have conversations that matter by transforming dinner tables into forums for positive social change. By providing a simple framework for conversations that matter, anyone, anywhere, can use Civic Dinners as a tool for organizing and action.

How to Avoid a Food Fight at Thanksgiving: While the holidays are a time for family gatherings, sharing and giving, they often bring out tensions and disagreements between friends and loved ones. So the National Institute for Civil Discourse created these tips to help keep things civil during the holidays — and the rest of the year.

On Being Civil Conversations Project: The Civil Conversations Project is an evolving adventure in audio, events, resources, and initiatives for planting relationship and conversation around the subjects we fight about intensely — and those we’ve barely begun to discuss.

Make Shift Coffee House: Bridging the political divide with coffee, music, and face-to-face conversation, the purpose of Make Shift Coffee House is to understand each other's political views, and hang out. Check out their website to learn more about how you can host a Make Shift Coffee House.

Family Conflict: How to Navigate Political Conversations: Interested in learning more about how to have productive conversations around difficult topics with family members? This article offers excellent advice.

Lunch & Learn with Gleaves Whitney: Lisa Perhamus: Gleaves Whitney is joined by Dr. Lisa Perhamus, director of Grand Valley State University's Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program, to discuss ways to create spaces that spark civil discourse. (The audio is a little choppy to start, but it does smooth out.)

Grooving on Civil Discourse at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table: Check out this great podcast about engaging in civil discourse with family members around the holidays.

How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffman: Read the book that inspired the 2019 Symposium topic.

Real Talk: American University's Project on Civil Discourse Blog: This blog features student voices and commentary on current civil discourse issues, and encourages students to understand speech not only as a matter of rights, but of responsibilities, values, and opportunities. 

TED Talk: 3 Ways to Practice Civility by Steven Petrow: What does it mean to be civil? Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be dismissed as conversation-stifling political correctness or censorship. Learn three ways we can each work to be more civil -- and start talking about our differences with respect.

Decide 4 Yourself: Hear perspectives on hot topics in America led by a moderator without the bias and slant that a network, newspaper or radio personality brings so you can decide for yourself.

Be the Change by GVSU's Office of Student Life: This student-led podcast will explore civic engagement and how students are using their voices to make change at GVSU and beyond.

TED Talk: 10 Ways to have a better conversation by Celeste Headlee: When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations -- and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations.