A series of conversations for all members of the Stevenson community, D.O.P.E. Chats was created for students, staff and faculty to have a safe place for thought-provoking discussions. D.O.P.E. stands for “Discoveries, Opportunities, Partnerships, and Experiences,” while “chats” are simply that: conversations.
Founder Morgan Somerville, director of student engagement, explained that the goal of this initiative is to give those at Stevenson a place to have difficult conversations. D.O.P.E. Chats started as a result of fascinating and powerful conversations that Somerville was having with students in her office. D.O.P.E. Chats gives students and others the opportunity hear other viewpoints while questioning their own.
The first chat was held in the fall semester during finals week, where the topic was living on $1 a day. Attendees watched a documentary that explained how some people were forced to live on only $1 a day, and afterwards, there was a discussion encouraging viewers to examine their reactions and feelings. This setting provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to open up on a personal level.
On Feb. 12, the initiative hosted its second event. This time, the topic of the film was happiness, and attendees learned how people from around the world have different views on the meaning of happiness. Participants were provided with worksheets to complete before and after watching to see if the film changed their perspective in any way.
The long-term goal of this initiative is to encourage different clubs and organizations on campus offer D.O.P.E. Chats within their clubs. Until then, several other opportunities are planned for this spring.
Those interested in attending a D.O.P.E. Chat can search the SU NOW portal or the initiative’s Facebook page at DOPE Chat. Those who have ideas for future topics can reach out to Somerville through campus email.