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Student Educators Facilitate Campus Conversations

Multicultural Student Life is excited to continue offering Kernel Convos, a film and discussion-type program. While the program was on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, it returned last year to continue its tradition of impacting student conversations in an engaging and encouraging way.

Through Kernel Convos, students are invited to attend a showing of a representative film and participate in a facilitated conversation after viewing. Sometimes a content expert leads a question-and-answer session, and sometimes students are presented with an open forum after the film to share their takeaways in a large group setting.

The student diversity educator team pictured with Allie Hicks (far left), Multicultural Student Life coordinator.

The conversation can range from the significance of the movie to the importance of different types of storytelling, or other themes within the movie itself. But the events always invite students to engage open dialogue in an accessible, approachable way.

The conversations that are part of Kernel Convos are led by diversity educators, a group of student leaders passionate about building a welcoming community on Rocky Top. Diversity educators are first-year or continuing students with at least one year of their academic career remaining. Selected through an application and interview process, diversity educators develop skills in public speaking, team building, and facilitation experience.

More than 200 UT students participated in facilitated conversations, with more than 1,900 students participating in facilitated conversations with diversity educators in the 2022–2023 academic year. Multicultural Student Life plans to host four films for Kernel Convos in partnership with the Pride Center.