Campus conversations give students the chance to discuss current events
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 14:01
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, University of Nebraska at Omaha held its eighth Campus Conversations event, where students analyzed newspspers with staff and discussed current events. Campus Conversations, which began in 2008, hosts one large event in the fall, to be followed by smaller ‘Times Talks’ sessions in February.
This fall’s event consisted of 13 different tables, each dedicated to a different subject and moderated by a professor. Topics included editorials, business, international news, arts, style, Omaha news, sports, science, food and national news.
Maria Anderson Knudston believes the event teaches students many valuable lessons. Knudston is a lecturer in the English department and is the coordinator of Newspapers in Curricula (NiC).
“Students need to know that they should be informed and hold opinions and that their ideas matter,” Knudston said.
The set-up of this event gave students a chance to discuss current topics and headlines with each other. The professors, who served as table moderators, helped start conversations and keep discussions on track.
“Faculty members have been extremely generous with their time, and they have as much fun as the students,” Knudston said.
According to past student evaluations, students who attend have gained several benefits from Campus Conversations. One is the chance to express opinions in a non-threatening environment outside of the classroom. Some students were even granted extra credit in classes for attending.
One of the most important lessons that students at Campus Conversations learned was that newspapers on campus are free this year.
UNO recently took the card swipes off of the newspaper bins, making newspapers more accessible to students and staff.
“Student government and the administration have combined funding to allow everyone on campus to read the newspapers,” Knudston said.
Although the removal of the card swipes happened earlier this fall, many students are still unaware of it.
“I’ve seen them outside the library, but I didn’t realize that they were free,” said Ryan L., who asked for his last name not to be published. He is a freshman who attended last week’s Campus Conversations.
Knudston also said that just because students read a lot for classes, it should not become a chore.
“I think students need to sharpen their sense of discovery and curiosity, to uncover new and different pieces of knowledge, to engage in what is being reported, advertised, and argued and finally, to simply be amazed at what they read.”