Political Science & Philosophy Double Major
A senior at the University of New Hampshire, Piper Gibson studies political science and philosophy double major. She shares her favorite experience working with the Civil Discourse Lab:
"I found the Stories & Voices Event of 2019 where we talked about addiction incredibly powerful. It was very moving to see how respectfully people could share their personal stories and listen to the stories of others while coming together to try to find a solution to the opioid crisis."
TESTIMONIAL OF PROGRESSION THROUGH THE CIVIL DISCOURSE LAB
“This past semester I was honored with the position of the CDL Assistant Program Director (APD). I was considered for this position after a year of volunteering my time for the CDL and facilitating at CDL-sponsored events on sensitive issues, such as the Israel Palestine Conflict and Opioid Addiction. My experiences at these events taught me the value of the CDL. I have seen people’s perspectives change, a group become aware of the existence and viewpoint of other groups, helped different sides find common ground, and watched people from diverse backgrounds discuss societal issues that affect everyone, all in one thoughtful conversation. It was because of these experiences that I became interested in having a larger role as part of the CDL. In fall of 2019 I was offered a fellow position at the CDL. As part of this position I worked closely with professors to design and facilitate events at UNH and the Nashua Community College. Designing these events was incredibly impactful to me personally as I worked with accomplished professors to learn the complex dynamics that are at play within many difficult conversations and how to respectfully address them. As part of my position as APD, I track and encourage students to complete hours for the CDL, oversee work done by the CDL fellows, help write grants, manage recruitment, design events, and help coordinate between the various different organizations that work with the CDL. It has been truly inspiring to watch CDL students grow and witness their enthusiasm for the work that the CDL does. One student this spring, in her last semester at UNH, devoted 15 hours to the CDL so she could benefit from all the CDL has to offer and be awarded the 25 hours pin before she graduated. Several other seniors joined the CDL in their last semester and devoted their time and passion to the work, despite not having the opportunity to join prior to their senior year. Their commitment to the CDL constantly reminds me of my own feelings regarding the work that the CDL does every week at UNH. My passion for the CDL really grew during my first experience facilitating at the Stories and Voices Event, Spring of 2019 on the topic of Addiction. I remember, during the introductions at my table, hearing the powerful stories full of pain that many individuals were recounting. CDL not only created an environment where people felt safe enough to recount their stories and viewpoints, but it also created an atmosphere where groups could really delve into the issues and hypothesize how best to combat them. This was a very powerful experience for me. I watched myself grow as I facilitated the discussion and watched the people around me grow as they learned from the experiences and perspectives of each other.”
PIPER GIBSON, 2020 APD