October 25, 2018, Bowdoin College, Political Divide

Neighbors Talking Across the Political Divide

Why do we see things so differently?

7:30pm to 9:30pm

Thursday, October 25

Bowdoin College

Smith Union

255 Maine Street

Brunswick, Maine


If you are a Republican, why?

If you are a Democrat, why?

If you are a Green or a Libertarian, or not in a political party at all, why?

Why do you see things the way you do?

Do you think people have less tolerance today for people with different views?

Do you think we are becoming more politically polarized? Why?

According to the Pew Research Center, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. See the Political Polarization in the American Public and several other articles on political polarization here.

Free Admission: Open to the public and the Bowdoin College community.

Complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available.


We begin with free food and live music; a chance to get a snack and chat with in pairs or small groups to get started.

The heart of the event is the next hour where the full group will engage in facilitated discussion. Following guidelines for a civil conversation, we learn from each other by asking questions and hearing what’s important to the “other side.” All that’s required is a desire to understand and the willingness to listen.

After the full group discussion we’ll strike up the music again, get another cup of coffee, and talk in small groups about specific topics. Some of us will talk in pairs. It’s informal. It’s a coffee house!

Before wrapping up, Craig will bring the group back together in one last group dialogue. This time could be used for a wrap up with a summary of key concepts as well as any more input from the group. Depending on the topic and the people involved, the time frame may vary. It might look like this.

7:30 pm      Live Music. Coffee, tea, snacks. Small informal conversations.

7:45 pm      Full Group Conversation

8:40 pm      Live music. Coffee, tea, snacks. Small informal conversations.

9:10 pm      Full Group Conversation

9:30 pm      End

This Make Shift Coffee House will be part of the What Matters dialogue series organized by Bowdoin’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good. The program features regular discussions that bring together students, faculty, and staff of different perspectives to share their experiences and learn from one-another. The McKeen Center is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Make Shift Coffee House and expand our perspectives to include those from the Brunswick community!