This Friedman Seminar features Eva Greenthal, Hannah Kitchel, Kelly Kundratic and Laura Barley presenting "Let's Talk: Outcomes of Intercampus Dialogues Between Students of Agriculture and Nutrition with Different Political Perspectives."
Let’s Talk is a student-run project aimed at promoting mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding across political lines through respectful dialogue and elevated empathy. In February 2017, students from Tufts Friedman School and West Virginia University's Davis School of Agriculture came together to gain new perspectives by “exiting the echo chamber” of politically like-minded institutions and developing relationships with students with different life experiences and political leanings. With generous support from the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement, Let's Talk was able to partner with Ask Big Questions (ABQ), a national organization that helps colleges, universities, and organizations engage young adults in reflective conversations about purpose, identity, and responsibility. Using the ABQ model, student facilitators at Tufts and WVU guided their peers through a series of four 90-minute conversations regarding the following topics: how to engage in civil discourse with people you disagree with; how life experiences shape our world views; rights, freedom, and discrimination; and the future of food and agriculture.
Participants completed surveys at the beginning and end of the project that assessed any changes in political stereotypes, civil discourse skills, and hopes and fears for the Trump presidency. In this presentation, using data from these surveys and experiences from the last few months, we will share with the Tufts community stories from the development, execution, and outcomes of this innovative project aimed at bridging the political divide.
Eva, Kelly, Hannah, and Laura are the Let's Talk Organizer Team at Tufts.
Eva Greenthal is a MS/MPH candidate in the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition program at the Tufts Friedman School. She has three years of experience in childhood obesity prevention and is passionate about finding policy solutions to address the double burden of hunger and obesity. Eva first started developing the Let's Talk project in November 2016 as a reaction to the social and political climate on campus and across the country. She enjoys helping people confront their biases and find common ground, and was thrilled to see her vision of intercampus bipartisan dialogues come to life!
Kelly Kundratic is a Master of Science student in Agriculture, Food and Environment at Tufts Friedman School. She graduated from West Virginia University in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Agricultural and Extension Education. She is interested in development of sustainable food systems through education and outreach, with a focus in Farm to School programming. She was enthusiastic about the Let's Talk project as an opportunity to reconnect with her alma mater and learn more about her Friedman classmates.
Hannah Kitchel is first-year Masters Candidate at the Friedman School in their Agriculture, Food and Environment Program. Originally from Vermont, she graduated from Bates College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies focusing on globalization and social change. Following several farming experiences, including two urban farming internships, she was excited to join the Friedman community this past Fall. After graduation, she hopes to be involved in agriculture policy analysis with a focus on sustainability. She was excited to be involved in the Let's Talk project as she deeply values open discussion as an important learning experience.
Laura Barley is a Master of Science candidate in the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at the Tufts Friedman School. She is interested in the development of large-scale food systems and the environmental and societal constraints which govern them. She is currently researching water constraints on expanded fruit and vegetable production, and understanding the ways agricultural biotechnology has fulfilled expectations of abating global food insecurity. She is interested in developing objective perspectives of complex systems, and therefore loved working on the Let's Talk project.