February 5, 2014

Difficult Conversations 3 Stereotyping Each Other: Experiencing the Urban/Rural Divide Off Campus
Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Multicultural Center, WIU's Macomb Campus
Description: The Difficult Conversations series brings students, faculty, and staff together to discuss challenging issues based on both real and perceived differences. The February conversation, the third in the 2013-2014 series, follows up on the November DifCon, and focuses on tensions experienced off campus due to racial, ethnic, and other differences.

University towns, ideally, are places where the campus and the surrounding community contribute to each others' well-being and quality of life. While the “town and gown” divide is well known in many college towns, tensions can intensify when cultural norms and behaviors differ, and opportunities to build connections are limited.

Students in Macomb and the surrounding area may have very different social, cultural, and employment options and experiences off campus, whether among themselves or through interactions with the broader community. Feeling welcome and accepted in a given situation can vary significantly depending on how we see each other and how others see us. How different are students’ experiences in restaurants, bars, stores, or with law enforcement? How much of the difference is based on prejudice, discomfort, or ignorance about cultural differences?

Our speakers will once again provide a context for small group discussions as they talk about their experiences in the Macomb area and the choices they make about the restaurants and bars they patronize, the stores they shop in, and the activities they take part in. Where do students feel welcome, and what contributes to that feeling? How safe do students feel off campus, especially at night, and what contributes to their perceptions? Who stays on campus on the weekends, who leaves—and why? Do students mix better off or on campus, or is there no real difference? These are some of the questions to be explored at this third DifCon.

Faculty, students, and staff are all welcome and encouraged to attend. Registration is not required. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Information:
 Debra Miretzky
 Phone: 309-298-1528
 Email: d-miretzky@wiu.edu
Source: Multicultural

Western Illinois University
1 University Circle * Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: 309/298-1414 * E-mail info@wiu.edu
Calendar Administration: webstaff@wiu.edu