The discussion board in the classroom building serves as an engaging forum for students with thought-provoking questions.

Paper adhered to a bulletin board with writing on it

At the beginning of this spring semester, the Service Learning & Civic Learning office (within the Career Center) erected a Discussion Board on the ground floor of the Classroom Building. According to the board’s mission statement, its purpose is “to create a safe space that supports the development of well-informed and engaged students through civil discourse.”

After sitting in a presentation about our library’s news resources, a staff member of the  Career Center noticed the New York Times and their Student Opinion section within the learning network. It is from this that the inspiration for the Mount’s discussion board emerged.

The goal of the discussion board is to provide a space for students to discuss thought-provoking topics in an anonymous form. At first, questions were more light-hearted, like “What was your New Year's resolution?” After earning some “goofy responses,” says Service Learning and Engagement coordinator Caroline Meyer, the Career Center have shifted their questions under an academic lens. For example, some of the questions that received more refined engagement from students were “What should other generations know about Gen Z?” and “Could you live a day without plastic?”

Meyer states that the Career Center, and the University as a whole, have “been trying to up student engagement.” The concept of an anonymous place for students to engage was an alternative to making students come to events hosted by various organizations. This especially applies to the Career Center, which every student is required to go through to reach graduation. So, instead of “making students come to us, we went to the students.”

This change has also proved interesting for the student population. Sophomore Julia Gooding felt that the questions were intriguing, and “would never think about them unless asked.” Mount St. Joseph has always been a place for interesting and academic conversation, and the Discussion Board exemplifies this. With the posing of both intriguing and lighthearted questions, students are able to remain anonymous while engaging with their peers and administrators.

In terms of longevity, Meyer believes that if the board continues to be used and engaged with, it may continue to be up for semesters to come.

Want to see the Discussion Board for yourself? Enter the classroom building from the quad, and head down the stairs. The board is displayed just before the hallway on the right to professors’ offices.