Date of this Version
Zhou, Lilly (2023). Closing the Gap between College Students: An Intergroup Dialogue Program to Reach Understanding and Reduction of Disparities. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The goals of the intergroup dialogue program are exploration and collective action. The goal of exploration is to spread awareness by presenting the situation. Several students are not aware that disparities between students exist, so this dialogue provided awareness of the issue. With increased understanding of each other, collective action can be taken. Actions by a small number of students are still steps taken to reduce the gap between the financially supported and not financially supported students. Action can look like spreading awareness of the issue, advocating for policy changes, and more.
The structure of the intergroup dialogue program required one meeting that incorporated four stages. The meeting lasted approximately two hours. The first hour incorporated the first and second stages. The first stage served as an introduction session. Several participants did not know each other, but the session helped familiarize everyone. It created a more comfortable environment for a touchy subject. Furthermore, participants began to understand each other’s lives and started seeing similarities and differences. The second hour included the third and fourth stages and served as the turning point because students divulged into their finances. Each student shared how much financial help they received. The third session served as the most polarizing session because of the questions they had to answer. It offers room for several perspectives. The fourth session was dedicated to finding ways to help reduce the gap. Even though they are only college students, they can still take steps to reduce the gap.