In October 2016, a long table was set up on the Third Street Bridge, where hundreds of people gathered for a community meal in Dayton. This was the third Longest Table event. This year, Wright State’s Student Activities is hosting their own version of The Longest Table.
“Our interim Vice President for Student Affairs went to one of the events in Dayton and he loved what the experience was for him,” said Hannah Pigg, Graduate Assistant in Student Activities. “So, it’s really just a recreation of that event for Wright State.”
The purpose of the event is to bring people from all walks of life together over dinner. “The event in Dayton is literally one long table, where people sit down with people they probably don’t know at all,” said Pigg. “There are discussion questions at each seat, so people talk about how to make Wright State a more welcoming campus.”
Despite being called “The Longest Table” however, there will not actually be a long table event. “We’re going to have individual sets of tables and each table will have a trained discussion facilitator to help guide discussions.” As of now, fifteen round tables with 6 to 7 seats will be available.
Held in the Endeavour Room from 5-7, the event opens with a speech by Dr. Dickstein, the Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, followed by Pigg’s explanation of the event. The talks will last until 5:30, after which dinner and discussions take place for about an hour.
“We’re adding place for action steps at the back of the place mats,” said Pigg, “along with the contact information of people you just met, so you can really follow through on conversations you had.” There will be an icebreaker question at the top of each place mat, followed by topics about making a welcoming community, everyone’s roles in creating such a community and so on.
Since the purpose of this event is to connect with people from different communities, it is encouraged to branch out.
Some of the food available is deli lunch meat sandwiches, pasta salad, chips, cookies, brownies and drinks. On the RSVP form, dietary restrictions are asked with the intention that everyone has what they prefer. Kosher meals and peanut-free meals will be available as well.
“It’s not meant to be a comfortable event”, said Pigg. “It’s meant to be welcoming, safe and inclusive, but it’s going to feel uncomfortable. Even so, I hope people give it a chance.”
The event takes place on February 7th, and you can RSVP on Wright State Engage or here http://0b1it.ly/LongestTableWSU9.