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Intergroup dialogue program expands to discuss class

January 26, 2018

Twelve students will participate in a trial intergroup dialogue (IGD) curriculum on socioeconomic class beginning this February. Kate Stern and Leana Amaez, associate deans of students for diversity and inclusion and co-directors of the Center for Sexuality, Women & Gender will facilitate discussion with students from various class backgrounds. Participants will address personal experiences and class divisions, as well as discuss selected readings on the topic.

IGD is a model used on college campuses across the nation intended to promote conversation between members of different social identity groups. In 2014, Bowdoin created an IGD program on race, a seven-session curriculum that will take place again this coming semester. Over the past few years, Stern and Amaez have felt that there is an increasing need for discussion about class at Bowdoin as well.

“I feel like we’re at the beginning of the conversation,” said Stern. “[Amaez and I] thought that IGD was a great model for taking the conversation to the next step for the Bowdoin community.”

The pilot program will meet over the course of the semester for five two-hour sessions. The students involved have all previously participated in IGD on race, a qualification that Stern believes will help them provide better feedback as the curriculum develops. The goal is to eventually create a seven-session program that would mirror IGD on race.

Previously, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) and the What Matters campaign have held campus-wide conversations on socioeconomic class. Stern and Amaez hope that the new IGD program will build on these conversations and create meaningful, long-term dialogues.

“Often when class is talked about it tends to be these one-shot deals, one-time opportunities,” said Stern. “We’re really looking forward to doing what IGD does so well, which is keeping the conversation going, and going a little bit deeper in a way that you can’t necessarily do in an hour and a half.”



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