August 10, 2016

‘Salukis SPEAK’ forums planned for fall

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is creating Salukis SPEAK (Solutions for Peace and Equality through Advocacy and Knowledge), a series of focused discussions designed to encourage learning, engagement and interaction outside of the classroom. 

Organized by the Dean of Students unit in the Division of Student Affairs, the discussions welcome students, faculty and staff as well as community volunteers to meet and talk with the goal of enhancing respect, personal growth and a culture of inclusivity and diversity.  

The sessions will all take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Rooms 150-170 in the Student Services Building. The schedule of fall 2016 semester topics includes:

  • Aug. 30 -- Creating a Culture of Care
  • Sept. 13 -- What is Privilege?
  • Sept. 27 -- #BlackLivesMatter Explored
  • Oct. 18 -- Orlando: 4 Months Later
  • Nov. 1 -- Election 2016 Poetry Jam
  • Nov. 15 -- This is Who I am: Gender Expression
  • Nov. 29 -- Preparing for Home: Continuing a Culture of Care 

The key to making Salukis SPEAK effective is getting volunteers with a variety of experiences and backgrounds involved, according to Deborah Barnett, assistant dean of students. She said the selection committee is seeking students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members who have knowledge of or an interest in one or more of the topics to serve as speakers or facilitators for the discussion forums. 

Anyone interested in serving as a speaker/facilitator is asked to submit an interest form, available online at, by Aug. 19. The committee will review applications and select people with a shared interest and varied experiences with similar topics so they can collaborate and plan the discussions. The presenters should be prepared for forums that engage students in dialogue and activity that aligns with SIU’s mission and vision and its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The forums aren’t lectures but rather a time for all who attend to share experiences and thoughts in an open and non-judgmental way to create better understanding, acceptance and individual growth while enhancing the campus climate. 

For more information, email or visit the website at