On a cold winter’s night at the end of February, four grad students from different faculties sat in a restaurant enjoying drinks and snacks, discussing everything from climate change to emotional labour theory. These conversations became the inspiration for the Acadia Graduate Students (AGS) first annual Speed Date Debates. Our aim for these ‘debates’ are to get students and faculty alike to have a chance to discuss diverse issues with people from different departments. Collectively, Acadia students have a wide breadth knowledge on a variety of subjects; however, opportunities to create a dialogue between different fields of study can be challenging.
For the majority of the student body, getting together with friends from different departments and faculties and having conversations around your studies may not be particularly difficult. Between on-campus residences, extra-curricular activities, parties, and diverse classroom settings (particularly in first and second year classes), there are many opportunities for undergrad students to meet a multitude of other students. However, for many grad students, particularly those who did not complete their undergrad here, the story is a little different. Many of us feel at times isolated, with social contact at the university limited primarily to other grad and honours students in our own faculties.
The AGS has been working throughout the year to change this. From various social events to a campus-wide Acadia Student Research and Innovation Conference, the primary aims of the AGS are to offer support to grad students and to enhance the profile of student research and academic engagement. We believe that the Speed Date Debates will offer students an opportunity to meet students outside of their own departments, bring their expertise to the table, and, hopefully, learn from one another in a relaxed environment.
The event is premised around a hybridization of speed dating and debating, with a few important modifications to both. Like speed dating, participants will be matched with a group of diverse people to have conversations with; unlike speed dating, the goal of this event is not to set up romantic liaisons (though we won’t mind if you walk out of this event with a date either). Like debating, we will provide a series of ideas, events, and concepts for participants to engage and speak on by using their research and knowledge. But unlike debating, there will be no winners nor losers. We want to encourage fun conversation and critical thinking, not competition.
If you have interest in the event or would like to RSVP, please go to the event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1464852550212626/. For any questions or concerns, please send me an email at HopeCampbell@acadiau.ca. Please contact myself or any of the other AGS Executive team if you would like to recommend a particular debate topic. We invite Grad students, upper year students and faculty alike to join us.
The Speed Date Debates will be held on April 11th at 7:00 PM at La Torta Pizzeria on 117 Front Street.