Strengthening our communities through conversation

Talking Together: Strengthening our Communities Through Conversation was a year-long Grand Valley Presidential Initiative (2022-2023) that focused on interrupting toxic polarization and creating instead a culture of conversation on campus and in surrounding communities. The Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and WGVU Public Media partnered on this dialogue initiative which featured at least one structured activity per month for students, staff, faculty, and community members. Events were a combination of interactive panel discussions; keynote presentations; symposia; workshops; and a multi-media gallery exhibit—each offering an opportunity to engage in conversation with one another across differences in perspective, identity, and life experience.

For Summer and Fall '24, the Talking Together team has partnered with Seeds of Promise and the Gerald R. Ford Foundation to build upon and extend its efforts to create cultures of conversation rather than debate. We are excited to be selected as a host for One Small Step, a StoryCorp initiative!

One Small Step | About The Initiative

One Small Step | About The Initiative

Take One Small Step, Grand Rapids

with WGVU and StoryCorps

Created by StoryCorps, One Small Step is an effort to remind the country of the humanity in all of us, even those with whom we disagree. The initiative brings strangers with different political beliefs together for a 50-minute conversation—not to debate politics—but to get to know each other as people.

WGVU and their valued partners: Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse; Kaufman Interfaith Institute; Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies; Seeds of Promise; and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation as well as StoryCorps invite you to take part in One Small Step, an effort to bring communities together, one conversation at a time.

WGVU is one of just seven stations selected nationally to host One Small Step in 2024.With participant permission, these conversations will be preserved for future generations at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

We’re teaming up with civic organizations, churches, and other community groups and leaders to spread the word and connect West Michigan residents from all backgrounds who are ready to take One Small Step.  Do you want to get your group or organization involved in the effort? Contact Phil Lane at [email protected] or (616) 331-6791 for more details.

We invite you to meet someone new:

Apply Here

Learn even more about the initiative!

Page last modified May 29, 2024