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Update from the OrangeBand Initiative

NCDD recently learned about the James Madison University-based OrangeBand Initiative, and we’re really excited to spread the word about this brilliantly simple idea. Kai Degner started the OrangeBand Initiative with a group of friends at JMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Their goal was simple: getting people talking about issues they care about. They began handing out orange strips of fabric that could be decorated to represent an issue important to whoever decides to wear one. The bands can be put on a bag or somewhere else and, when someone asks “What’s your OrangeBand?”, a conversation can ensue about that issue and others.

In two years, over 6,000 people have voluntarily decided to take a band and the Initiative has coordinated over 50 nonpartisan, discussion-based forums. According to director Kai Degner, “We have learned we are tapping into something much bigger than anything we could have created ourselves: a broad desire for a space for open, civil discourse about meaningful contemporary issues.” Click below for the OrangeBand Initiative’s latest
update (which happily includes an announcement about thataway.org!).

Hello friends,

A special hello to the folks new to the list! Here are a few quick updates to share with you as OrangeBand continues to bring a little conversation back into our daily routines:

The JMU OrangeBand Chapter has begun their Spring 2005 OrangeBand Action Campaign! The campaign, running from April 1-9, is the chapter’s major initiative to get the community talking about an array of important issues. Chapter members will be distributing OrangeBands on campus and promoting 10 forums that address the “JMU Bubble”, the state of water, and US foreign aid. A special thanks to the cosponsoring organizations! A full list of events is listed below and at www.OrangeBand.org.

www.ThatAway.org – For those of you interested in learning more about groups dedicated to facilitating discussion, we would like to direct you to the National Coalition for Dialogue and Discourse (NCDD, www.thataway.org). NCDD is an umbrella organization, “ [bringing] together people and groups who actively practice, promote and study inclusive, high quality conversations. Collectively, we seek to nurture justice, respect, and democracy throughout society using dialogue, deliberation and other forms of collaborative, transformational communication. We believe that elevating the quality of thinking and communication in organizations and among citizens is key to solving humanity’s most pressing problems.” OrangeBand is excited to have found this important resource and we encourage you to read more at www.thataway.org.

For those of you outside of JMU, please be aware of the many ways you can bring OrangeBand to your community. Visit http://www.orangeband.org/gi.php to see the full list of ways to join us. Also, www.Fridaysat5.com provides a method for you to begin a weekly discussion circle at a time and location of your choice – check it out!

Thanks!
Kai

Full schedule of JMU Action Campaign events (available at www.OrangeBand.org)

Friday April 1
“Perspectives on Iraq”
5-7pm on the Commons
Cosponsor: Sociology Club

Speakers will share their perspective for 5-7 minutes each, and then the discussion is open to anyone and everyone. Speakers include Cindy Hunter, JMU Social Work Professor; Katherine, daughter of recently deployed soldier; David Reichbaum, co-leader of recent Alternative Spring Break trip to Fisher House veterans hospital; veterans from Sunnyside Retirement Community; a reading from a JMU graduate currently in Ar Ramadi; and others.

Monday, April 4
“Walking Tour of Harrisonburg”
5pm, Meet at Wilson Steps
Guide: Yasmeen Alamiri
Cosponsor: Community Service-Learning

A two mile loop from JMU’s Wilson Hall past 14 of Harrisonburg’s landmarks – complete with a dinner stop at the Little Grill and a dessert stop at Kline’s Ice Cream – will help us burst the JMU bubble!

Monday, April 4
“OrangeBand Radio: Privatization of Water”
9-10pm Local: 88.7 WXJM
Live Online Streaming Here
Cosponsor: Environmental Business Club

The OrangeBand Radio regulars will discuss the issues surrounding the privatization of water, the practice of companies buying water aquifers.

Tuesday, April 5
GET YOUR BANDS!

Stop by the Commons from 11-2, or look for OrangeBand representatives with a handful of bands. We’ll be handing out bands throughout the week all over campus and at the forums.

Tuesday, April 5
“Development & Environment: Are they compatible?”
7pm, Showker Hall Room 107
Cosponsor: Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)

SIFE will host a debate between an environmentalist and a development/ industrialist on the topic of civil and industrial development and its effects on our environment and people.

Wednesday, April 6
“The State of Water”
5:30pm, HHS 2210
Cosponsor: Environmental Business Club

ISAT’s Dr. Tom Benzing will share information about the state of water on an national and local level. Dr. Benzing, an environmental chemist active in water issues in the Shenandoah Valley, will address water supply and water quality issues in a discussion-oriented environment.

Wednesday, April 6
“Politics of Compassion: US Involvement in Tsunami Relief”
7pm, HHS 2210
Cosponsors: Americans for an Informed Democracy

ISAT’s Dr. Ming Ivory will be addressing the extent to which the United States should be sending support to the nations suffering from the Tsunami with a variety of view points.

Thursday, April 7
“Rwanda and Sudan”
7pm, ISAT Room 136
Cosponsors: Student Government Association

Lauren Broussard, SGA’s Director of Cultural Affairs, will present information about these African crises to initiate a conversation concerning the questions surrounding US assistance to foreign countries.

Friday, April 8
“Walking Tour of Harrisonburg”
Noon, Meet at Wilson Steps
Guide: Marty Makowski, Community Service-Learning

A two mile loop from JMU’s Wilson Hall through the heart of downtown Harrisonburg will help us burst the JMU bubble! Bring a lunch to eat downtown and some dollars for Kline’s!

Friday, April 8
Fridays at 5
5pm, Taylor Down Under
Cosponsor: National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Fridays at 5 is a new effort from The OrangeBand Initiative to bring a little conversation back into our daily lives. F@5 attempts to provide a space for people to connect in person, face-to-face, with others in an informal, relaxing environment. With this meeting, the JMU OrangeBand Chapter begins a weekly discussion circle open to anyone. See www.Fridaysat5.com for more information.

Saturday, April 9
“Blacks Run / Downtown Cleanup Day:
Cleanin’ and Greenin’ Our Community Watershed”
8am-1:30pm

Organizers: Friends of Blacks Run Greenway, City of Harrisonburg, Downtown Renaissance and many others!

The Cleanup Day is an annual event that brings together the community to clean Blacks Run – last year, 4 hours of volunteer work wrought 17 TONS of trash (that’s 34,000 pounds!). Click here for more information.

Kai Degner

Director, The OrangeBand Initiative, Inc.
www.OrangeBand.org
Kai@OrangeBand.org
(540) 409-6813

What’s YOUR OrangeBand?

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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