Having attended several deliberations during the two weeks preceding break, I quickly came to appreciate pointed questions, moderated discussions, and appropriate content. When I reflect on our group’s attempt at the following, it isn’t difficult for me to figure out what went well and what didn’t go so well.
First and foremost, I thought that our discussion flowed nicely, with all three approach teams doing good work, asking good questions, and encouraging thoughtful commentary. Audience members were given time to respond to questions, and our large turnout yielded many different opinions. When the discussion was concluded, everyone involved seemed satisfied, as did the audience. To this end, our group did good work as far as I saw.
However, the preparation of the issue guide for the group didn’t go as smoothly. While I thought that the content produced was certainly satisfactory, several grammatical errors and formatting mishaps were brought to my attention during the breaks in the discussion. Simple fixes like this could have made the discussion process smoother for the audience, although they didn’t seem to mind too much.
When compared to the deliberations of other groups, I would place ours on the same plane as the other three that I attended. All were very well discussed, with some groups presenting a better issue guide than others. I think that a good discussion starts with a good issue, which I believe that we all had — covering Greek life, sexual education, sexual assault, and poorly funded public schools. All of these issues most likely carry substantial weight with young people, providing an ample platform for the presentation of thoughts and ideas.
Evaluating the whole experience, the positives of the assignment certainly stand out much more than the negatives. When everyone contributed and did their part — in any group — the result was awesome.