Deliberative Discussions

Deliberative Conversations at SUNY Empire grew out of a partnership between the college’s Office of Student Life and the Buffalo Project. These conversations are an effort to increase cultural awareness, interaction and discussion among students, faculty, and staff around difficult topics. The uniqueness of the Deliberative Conversations format is that it is meant to intentionally bring together individuals who represent diverse perspectives around a topic; sometimes difficult or controversial, to advocate for tangible, joint solutions that give a voice to all invested in the conversation.

(AY 2017-2018 & AY 2018-2019) Student Life and the Buffalo Project piloted a series of conversations, listed below.

*Based on the success of the pilot conversations, as of AY 2019-2020, Deliberative Conversations are now regularly offered as Student Life/Buffalo Project college-wide events. As of 2019, students who are part of the Student Leadership Institute program and SUNY Empire are also required to participate in these events.

NOTE: Hyperlinks below connect to Deliberative Conversation solutions co-created by participants (e.g., conversation notes, videos, articles/papers, websites, call-to-actions.):

Bridging and Bonding: How Can We Engage Communities in a Time of Change? (Fall, 2017)

Journeys in Social Stigma: Supporting Formerly Incarcerated Peoples Re-Entry into Education (Fall, 2017):

Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico Aftermath: A Student Discussion (Spring, 2018):

Where have all the Voters Gone (Constitution Day, Fall 2018)

Deliberative Conversation: #MeToo (Spring 2019):

Immigration in the Trump Era (Spring, 2019):

AY 2020-2021 Conversations

FALL 2020

  • Sept. 17 Constitution and Race - roughly this conversation will focus on the intersection of race as it is reflected in the Constitution and greater US culture
  • Oct. 21 Racialized Disparities - this conversation will discuss the various disparities of healthcare, socio-economic stability, and other topics of interest
  • (NOTE: This is a VR panel and not a Deliberative Conversation) Nov. (TBD) Food Sustainability/Food Drive - this discussion will partner with the VR residency on Sustainability through Learning, Student Life, and the Sustainability Committee


  • Feb. 2 Deliberative Conversation "Year of Worlds Religions" - this discussion will partner with the VR residency on Spirituality, World Religions and the Presidential Diversity Taskforce
  • March 10 "Politics/Public Policy/Workforce" - this discussion will discuss public policy and its influence on workforce development 

Deliberative Conversation Awards: 2019 SUNY Empire “You Make A Difference Award” Recipient – Buffalo Project Deliberative Conversations


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SUNY Empire State College’s Office of Student Life is a partner in your successful college experience.

518-587-2100, ext. 2255