February 6, 2024

Two UNC-Chapel Hill students will begin facilitating dialogues on campus this spring to bridge divides among students. Jaya Daya and Valeria Orozco are members of the second cohort of the NC Student Dialogue Ambassadors program (NC-SDA), along with students from Lenoir-Rhyne University and High Point University.

The NC Student Dialogue Ambassadors program, sponsored by North Carolina Campus Engagement (NCCE), seeks to mobilize student leaders who are passionate about bridging divides by training a cohort of students (“Ambassadors”) in the skills to engage in deliberation and dialogue on critical issues facing our state. After the Ambassadors receive training, they host a minimum of four dialogues and one dialogue facilitation training for fellow students on campus. Participating NC-SDA campuses select two students to serve as Student Dialogue Ambassadors, plus a faculty or staff mentor to provide support.

Jaya Dayal

Jaya Dayal

Jaya Dayal is a junior at the Gillings School studying Health Policy and Management and Education. When asked what she is looking forward to most about leading dialogues on campus, Dayal stated, “I am really excited for the opportunity to build bridges across our campus community and connect more with the broader Chapel Hill-Carrboro community through dialogues about issues that matter to us all!”

Valeria Orozco, a junior at Carolina studying Geology and Geography with a minor in Social and Economic Justice, said that she is “very excited to bring together students of different backgrounds that have different interests into conversations where everyone can learn something from one another.” She is particularly looking forward to establishing dialogues with students of color and first-generation students.

Valeria Orozco

Valeria Orozco

Dayal and Orozco successfully completed a two-day intensive dialogue and deliberation training with NC Campus Engagement during the Fall 2023 semester. They learned key facilitation skills in four models of dialogue and deliberation. The models and their sources are: Civil Dialogue (Arizona State University), Braver Discussions (Braver Angels Alliance of Central NC), Living Room Conversations and Deliberative Dialogue (National Issues Forum Institute).

Since the training, they have been working in collaboration with their campus mentor, Sarah Smith, assistant director of UNC Campus Y, to plan a series of dialogues and a training for students at Carolina.

Each campus receives an activity fund to support dialogue hosting and each Ambassador receives a stipend upon program completion. Funding is provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

NCCE is a collaborative network of 39 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. The NC Campus Engagement state office fosters connections between campuses, shares best practice information and resources, recognizes outstanding work, and champions civic and community engagement in higher education. To learn more visit nccampusengagement.org.

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