St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf to host daylong Sustained Dialogue training session

St. Olaf College students will have the opportunity to experience the power of Sustained Dialogue during a daylong event on Saturday, February 24.

The training session will be led by Rhonda Fitzgerald, the managing director of the national Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. Following the daylong event, participants will gather with a small group each week for four weeks to continue their work through active dialogue sessions.

The program is open to any St. Olaf student who wishes to participate, and registration information is available on the college’s Sustained Dialogue page.

The Sustained Dialogue program works to create community change by building powerful relationships across differences. It directs participants to focus on the “Big Eight” social identifiers: socioeconomic status, gender and sex, age, race and color, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and ability. The program was created by American diplomat Harold “Hal” Saunders, who contributed to peace processes in the Middle East.

Now its fourth year at St. Olaf, Sustained Dialogue is a student-run program that has provided training to nearly 300 campus community members.

Fitzgerald will visit campus to offer an intense training session for students. In her role with the Sustained Dialogue Institute, Fitzgerald works to train, mentor, and provide guidance to a broad range of institutions and individuals seeking to transform their communities through Sustained Dialogue. She has a passion for developing college-aged leaders with civic competence and cultural humility, and has made an impact at several places around the globe. She is an alumna of Princeton University, where she participated actively as a moderator and leader of Sustained Dialogue.

In addition to her work on campus this February, Fitzgerald will return to campus at the beginning of May to work with the leaders of St. Olaf student organizations. She will be on campus again this fall to continue working with students to further develop the Sustained Dialogue program at St. Olaf.