Series Provides Venue for Intellectual Discussion

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Matt LeBrun
Undergraduate Studies

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Regardless of your education level, everyone on campus is invited to join the discussion at Tech’s weekly Open Forum meetings.

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Regardless of your education level, everyone on campus is invited to join the discussion at Tech’s weekly Open Forum meetings.

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Regardless of your education level, everyone on campus is invited to join the discussion at Tech’s weekly Open Forum meetings.      

“The best conversations at Open Forum transcend generations, and they transcend faculty, staff and student boundaries,” said Steve Fazenbaker, director of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia Tech and Open Forum board member. “Students offer keen insight about contemporary life and bring fresh and hopeful perspectives to the conversations. Meanwhile, faculty and staff contribute an element of wisdom that only comes through living life.”

Open Forum got its official start in fall of 2010. The Office of Undergraduate Studies created the program to provide students with an opportunity to engage in unbiased intellectual discussions with peers, as well as faculty and staff.

During each session, a facilitator provides a five-minute introduction about the week’s topic, which can range from piracy to religion.Participants break off into groups of about four to six people to discuss. The last 10 to 15 minutes of the one-hour session is spent with each group providing a brief summary of what they discussed.  

Facilitators provide groups with a discussion guide that includes anything from questions to quotes to aid the conversation.

“The discussions are never mundane,” said Ameet Doshi, a librarian at the Georgia Tech Library and Open Forum board member. “It is illuminating to hear student opinions on issues of importance directly from them — rather than through a filter.”

Topics are selected during brainstorming sessions held by the board or from suggestions from attendees. Board members not only serve as facilitators for most of the sessions, but they also select featured facilitators for the monthly “This I Believe” edition of Open Forum.

“In these sessions, there’s not really a guiding topic in advance — a theme will develop based on what the person talks about during his or her introduction,” said Matt LeBrun, communications specialist for Undergraduate Studies. “Usually, the theme is something that is very personal to the speaker.”

Past “This I Believe” speakers have included First Lady Valerie H. Peterson and Undergraduate Student Government Association President Elle Creel.

Open Forum sessions are held most Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon in room 205, Clough Commons.

The topic of discussion for the next session, which will be held on Oct. 6, is “Real Life: Does Technology Inhibit Our Ability to Communicate?”

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Institute and Campus
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Keywords
Open Forum, This I Believe, Undergraduate Studies
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  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Oct 3, 2011 - 12:12pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:10pm