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Chico State

‘Engaging Our Democracy’ is Theme for Chico Great Debate

Students gather around a display at a Chico Great Debate.
Jason Halley

The Chico Great Debate brings together members of the campus and community to investigate and engage in dialogue around a “hot topic” that has the potential to divide us on Friday, October 26, 2018 in Chico, Calif. The entire day of presentations and debates stresses active listening, respectful exchange, and collaborative civic learning through civil discourse. Throughout the day, students from various Communication Studies classes give presentations and conduct debates focused on a chosen “hot topic.” In the evening, at 6:30, there is a formal debate by CSU, Chico Debate Team members and stakeholder Community Members. This year’s theme is: “Engaging in our Democracy.” (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

Next week, thousands of California State University, Chico and Butte College students will take part in the Chico Great Debate, an opportunity for civic engagement, civil conversation and friendly, spirited discussion.

The goal of the Chico Great Debate is to bring members of the campus and Chico community together to explore and engage in civil dialogue around a single topic. The theme for this event is “Engaging in Our Democracy,” with discussions and topics to focus on local political and social issues.

The event is free and open to the public and takes place on Friday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations around the CSU, Chico campus, including John F. O’Connell Technology Center, Rooms 120 and 121; Butte Hall, Rooms 309 and 709; Tehama Hall, Room 116; and Trinity Commons.

The Civic Expo is an interactive collection of informational exhibits created by more than 40 groups of students, and over 130 total students, and takes place on Trinity Commons starting at 10 a.m. The fast-moving, facilitator-led Cookies and Conversation will start at 10:15 a.m. inside Tehama Hall, Room 116.

Finally, the main debate will also take place in Tehama Hall, Room 116 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The CSU, Chico Speech and Debate Team will engage in a formal debate related to the event theme, followed by roundtable discussions.

The Chico Great Debate includes members of the Chico community and University students from across all majors.

“We want students to know that everyone is welcome to attend any session,” said Chico Great Debate coordinator Kirstin Joyce. “They don’t have to be part of a specific class.”

The Chico Great Debate is a twice-a-year component of the University’s First-Year Experience Program, with the goal of teaching new students how to become active citizens through thoughtful discussions and civic engagement. Each semester, CSU, Chico, Butte College and the City of Chico collaborate on the Chico Great Debate with the goal of creating a public stage civil discourse.

Past debate topics include technology, politics and elections, and issues in public health.

Those who require an accommodation in order to attend any of the Chico Great Debates or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.