Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania Residence Life Office is a featured program.
As part of Lock Haven University’s mission, vision, and values, we educate our students with diverse experiences and perspectives in order to be successful, responsible citizens in a global and technologically advanced society. REAL Conversations, a program series, was implemented at LHU during the 2013 Spring Semester to provide thought-provoking topics aimed at generating meaningful conversations for our students – discussions on topics which are foremost among the thoughts and psyche of our students.
This program series is a collaboration between Student Affairs & Academic Affairs to provide out of the classroom experiences for our students to discuss topics, that include, but are not limited to – Stereotyping & Labeling, Financial Inequality, Gender Discrimination, Social Norms, Relationship Violence, etc. These conversations take place inside of our residence halls to create a comfortable, safe place that for students to discuss openly and honestly topics that are not generally talked about regularly at the “dinner table.”
This program was created by a team of people who were impacted by a program they attended at the 2004 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE) in Miami Beach in 2004. Marion McKinney, Tammy Hilliard-Thompson, Shemica Johnson, Marcus Harrison, and Richard Czyzyk replicated the idea of REAL Conversations at West Chester University in Fall 2004 after attending a session presented by two professionals from George Washington University with a slate of discussions of the same title. Harrison, Johnson, Czyzyk, and Hilliard-Thompson attended the session at the conference and discussed the idea of bringing the initiative to WCU with McKinney, who suggested creating topics for discussion that were more relevant to WCU students. The program had positive outcomes so as staff from WCU re-located to other campuses, REAL Conversations went with them. Lock Haven University was one of the institutions that benefited from such a transition.
A team with representatives from residence life, human and cultural diversity, and the English and psychology departments is currently responsible for implementing The Real Conversations Program.
This team is adapting the program series as collaboration between Student Affairs & Academic Affairs to provide opportunities for students to safely learn about and discuss interesting, timely, and challenging topics such as Stereotyping & Labeling, Financial Inequality, Gender Discrimination, Social Norms, Relationship Violence, etc. while comfortably at “home”, inside our residence halls.
Submitted by Richard Czyzyk, Residence Hall Director, Lock Haven University