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Communications tipsHow You Can Participate in The Campus Week of Dialogue on Race, April 69, 1998

Every college president has received a letter from the President's Initiative on Race encouraging participation in the Campus Week of Dialogue on Race. Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Organize a campus viewing of the televised National Campus Town Hall Meeting.
  • Organize a campus town hall meeting or a series of campus meetings with students, faculty, and staff to discuss issues of race on campus, in the community, and in society.
  • Encourage faculty to devote class time to dialogues about race and racial reconciliation on campus and in the community.
  • Plan a meeting of student leaders to discuss racial issues and ways to improve intergroup dialogue on campus.
  • Participate in AAC&U's American Dialogue Workroom on DiversityWeb to contribute to on-line discussions before, during, and after the Campus Week of Dialogue.
  • Organize a showing of films such as Skin Deep or Shattering the Silences followed by small group discussions.
  • Write a report on your campus' promising initiatives designed to foster intergroup relations, advance learning about race, and promote action against racism on campus. Send a description of your initiatives to AAC&U.

Forging Campus-Community Partnerships

  • Use the Campus Week of Dialogue to build campus-community partnerships. Invite local elected officials, leaders of local faith communities, National Urban League affiliates, or other community organizations to participate in your campus meetings. Form a continuing leadership group including community participants.
  • Organize your leadership group to discuss the question: "What should higher education, with its local communities, be doing to prepare graduates to address the legacies of racism and the opportunities for racial reconciliation in the United States?" Compile a short report on the group's conclusions and send the results by May 31st to AAC&U to include in its report to the President's Initiative on Race.
  • Build on these campus-community partnerships to plan Study-Dialogues in the fall of 1998 to delve more deeply into issues of race in your community.

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Communications tips

Invite the media to participate in or cover events planned for the Campus Week of Dialogue on Race. Reporters can provide useful information and offer an otherwise-missing perspective.

Consider all the ways that journalists can participate. Reporters from ethnic newspapers might serve on planning committees and help publicize your events. Anchors or reporters might sit on or moderate panels and manage audience questions and comments. Student newspaper editors can help plan, publicize and participate in events.

By including journalists, you increase the prospects for news coverage and promote mutual understanding between the media and your community. Keep in mind, however, that it is essential to clearly define roles and rules in advance. If a journalist is participating in the planning process, begin with a clear agreement that the planning process is entirely "off-the-record" and nothing that occurs during planning will be the subject of a news story of any kind.

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