Students listened to their peers as they discussed topics to find a common ground during Diversity Week’s political dating event at Shippensburg University’s hockey rink on Oct. 15.
As political tensions continue to rise, Student Government Association (SGA) members Lance Hines-Butts and Lucas Everidge collaborated to create an event to spark a conversation between Democratic and Republican students without yelling and insults.
SU political science professor Alison Dagnes hosted the event and encouraged participants to listen and learn from their differing political party in order to gain a more positive view on American politics.
Dagnes wanted participants to express their opinions on controversial topics passionately without the fear of being challenged and disrespected.
“Most of us are a little bit of everything and that is what diversity week is all about,” Dagnes said. “Because if we just identify as one thing [then] you are missing the rest of the entire enchilada.”
Students spoke on topics such as gun control, systemic racism and climate change, agreeing and respectfully disagreeing with their partner. By the end of the conversation, both sides had to find a common ground by talking about similar interests that were non-political to show that both sides are the same.
Each side had five minutes on a topic equally before it was time for the democratic students to rotate to a new republican “date.”
The event ran for an hour without any conflicts or drama with students learning how to accept differing opinions and to talk about heavy-hitting topics without aggression.
“It is important to talk with people who might think differently than you,” Dagnes said.
Political speed dating was one step to bring SU students together regardless of political party identity. Showing underneath all the intense political views that might tear others apart, people share similar common interests and goals .