LMC gives students ‘A Place’ for discussion

LMC’s A Place to Talk program has helped students and faculty bond and discuss divisive issues in a safe, moderated environment.

The one-hour session is designed to provide a safe space for students, faculty and staff to talk about topics as varied as politics and world events to things affecting students on campus and in the local community. Each session is open to all who wish to participate, current numbers of attendees have ranged anywhere from 5-20 students.

Director of Student Life Teresa Archaga initiated A Place to Talk at the time of the 2016 Pulse shooting in Miami and has been a participant ever since.

“I am truly interested about what our students and faculty are thinking and feeling,” she said. “It is important to have something like this for us all to come together to share dialogue.”

The best part of this activity to Archaga is that the LMC community comes together in Student Life to talk about sensitive and not so sensitive topics in a place that is safe. No one is required to talk or share anything as it is meant to be pressure free, people who attend can just sit and listen. The most recent topic was on Campus Safety with Lt. Chad Wehrmeister of the campus police, Archaga thought it was a fruitful conversation. He shared some tips about LMC campus and how to be more aware of surroundings and is going to do training for students and staff in Student Life Office in the coming weeks with the date yet to be determined.

Archaga hopes that participants will be able to explore different perspectives and beliefs from others to learn about tolerance, acceptance and embrace diversity.

It isn’t too often that we are given opportunities like this to come together,” said Archaga, “and we get to know one another outside of the classroom.”

LMC Counselor Melissa Pon, co-facilitator of A Place to Talk said the program is crucial to emphasize positivity and improve the community of LMC by facilitating discussions about current events while focusing on other’s feelings and perspectives.

It’s very important that LMC continually works on creating safe spaces for students to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment,” said Pon. “There is so much going on in our nation in regards to government administration, people, and natural disasters.” For those interested in participating in the conversations in the future, A Place to Talk is held monthly on the second Thursday of the month from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Student Life office, located in the portable on the pathway between the Planetarium and Parking Lot A.