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Register for SDCN’s PULSE Retreat by Mar. 17th

We are pleased to highlight a new college-based initiative from the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (IISD) – an NCDD organizational member. They will be launching the PULSE sustained dialogue retreat for college students this July 20-25 in Lewisburg, PA. The deadline for application is March 17th, so we highly encourage our members to apply today! You read more about the PULSE gathering below or by visiting the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network website here.


SDCNThe International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (IISD) is thrilled to announce the creation of PULSE – a new college retreat program designed to explore identity, leadership, and inclusion and prepare students to tackle the challenges of a global 21st century. PULSE is the latest addition to our work with campuses to build more inclusive and engaged environments and shape life-long leaders and problem solvers.

With generous support from the Roger I. and Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation, the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN), the college campus initiative of IISD, is organizing the inaugural PULSE Institute to be held this summer…

To build PULSE, SDCN is incorporating cutting-edge research and lessons learned from innovative programs nationwide. One of the models of engagement informing PULSE is Common Ground, a program developed by students at Duke University in 2003, involving a four-day, student-led immersion retreat off-campus dedicated to exploring human relations (e.g., race, gender, class, sexuality, faith) through personal and group experiential activities and dialogue…

At the PULSE Institute, teams of students, faculty, and administrators from ten schools will experience the retreat curriculum firsthand while fine tuning Sustained Dialogue skills and practicing mindfulness and effective leadership. At the conclusion of the retreat, participants will learn how to implement this new model on their respective campuses with a peer-led, student-facilitated, and administrator-supported approach. PULSE is open to all US-based colleges and universities, including the 27 Sustained Dialogue Campus Network schools. The inaugural Institute will be held July 20 – 25, 2014 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Application details are available on the SDCN website.

The PULSE retreat program will forge deep relationships among participants, encourage intense and meaningful exploration of structural inequities, strengthen critical thinking and mindfulness skills, and develop other global competencies. Returning to campus, small groups will continue to meet to address through sustainable action projects the issues identified at PULSE. This model – retreat + continued conversation – aligns with current research demonstrating that an intense, immersive experience followed by sustained engagement is the best way to create attitudinal and behavioral change.

Integrating the principles of programs like Common Ground and Sustained Dialogue builds on complementary strengths and bolsters SDCN’s mission of creating social change agents on campuses, in communities, and in workplaces long after graduation. For example:

  • Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, the majority will always adopt their belief. With this strategy, we want to directly touch 10% of each campus and 10% of higher education institutions.
  • PULSE + Sustained Dialogue consistently contributes to the development of strong student leaders, new campus initiatives, and more inclusive community norms. The campus and wider community benefit from students’ new knowledge and relationships.
  • Workplaces and communities across the country will benefit from alumni skilled in sustained dialogue. Employers rank the ability to “solve problems and make decisions, resolve conflict and negotiate, cooperate with others, and listen actively” as skills most desired – and most deficient – in entry-level workers. These are outcomes of PULSE + Sustained Dialogue.

For more information about this initiative and the Institute application process, please visit the PULSE page on our website or contact PULSE Director Christopher Scoville at scoville@sdcampusnetwork.org.

About IISD and SDCN

The International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (IISD) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2002 that develops everyday leaders who engage differences as strengths to improve their campuses, workplaces, and communities. A primary initiative of IISD is the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN), which engages 27 campuses (in the US and six countries worldwide), 4,500 students, and 4,000 alumni annually. SDCN participants meet weekly for results-oriented dialogue, building relationships around topics such as race, class, gender, and faith, while simultaneously addressing pressing needs in their communities.

The five-stage, dialogue-to-action model of Sustained Dialogue is based on the work of Dr. Harold Saunders and includes identifying who needs to be involved in a continued process in order to leverage change (stage 1), building trust and transforming relationships among group participants (stage 2), identifying root causes of issues in the community (stage 3), envisioning future scenarios to address the root cause (stage 4), and working together to enact change (stage 5).

Full details on the PULSE retreat are available at www.sdcampusnetwork.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/6999.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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