Dialogue Circles: Testimonials
Syracuse University's first Dialogue Circles began in February 2006. Although the Circles typically accommodate up to 12, overwhelming response led to 15 participants in Circle One and 12 members of Circle Two. The strong interest in the Circles was supported by supervisors and colleagues who committed to adjusting individual work schedules to allow participation.
Jeffery Lamicela, a graduate of Circle 6 is a computer consultant II in Management-TRAC. "I thought I was already rather aware about race-related issues," says Jeffrey. "But the Dialogue Circle furthered my understanding about culture and ethnicity. What I found particularly interesting and valuable was finding out how differently people perceive everyday events."
Hilda Martinez, a graduate of SU's Circle 3 and assistant director for mentoring services in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, says "I am such a believer in Dialogue Circles and what they bring to everyone involved. I have had the good fortune in participating in two separate circles; one on the SU campus and the other in downtown Syracuse. Each circle has been very distinct but what remains the same is that by the last week, lasting friendships are formed. After my second circle, I knew I had to get more involved, so I went ahead and became a facilitator. The impact of listening to others is always very powerful."
Beverly Everding, senior administrator for Academic Affairs, was a part of the first Circles. "I know it is hard for people to feel that a small group of people can make change, but I prefer to take the higher road and feel optimistic that once one match is lit, the rest take less effort to ignite and no matter how small the flame, it still can burn," says Bev. "The Dialogue Circle offered more than I had hoped and has been incredibly rewarding for me."
"It was a friendly, non-threatening environment that allowed me to express myself freely without fear or repercussion," says Marsha Senior, a counselor at SUCE who was also part of the first circles. "It was a great experience, but six weeks was not enough time! Although the Circles laid a strong foundation, we barely scratched the surface."
"Our Dialogue Circle discussions were a refreshing change from the typical diversity training events I've participated in before. This forum provided a safe haven for us to let our guard down, get engaged, reflect, share, and most importantly learn about race relations and cultural experiences that affect our lives on a daily basis. I now have an even greater respect and appreciation for those who come from other backgrounds," says Jake Tanksley, human resources director for Institutional Advancement. "Hopefully other faculty members and administrators at all levels will join future circles and make discoveries that can positively change our world. This was time well spent!"
Questions? Contact Curlene Autrey at x1520.