Freshman Morgan Howard, who has been to all three Carolina Conversations events, has seen fewer people come each time.
“Even though the conversations are great and people will say, ‘Oh, I loved it,’ they won’t come back,” Howard said. “The same people show up, and then you have people who just walk in for free food, but we aren’t getting people who wouldn’t otherwise come to something like this.”
The Carolina Pulse event invited students to reflect on previous discussions and broader campus climate at the last of the year Wednesday.
Students at the event said incorporating student leaders and prominent on-campus organizations would increase attendance.
Kyle Villemain, former student body vice president, said he hopes this event will spark next steps for Carolina Conversations. The program will continue next year, though the future structure will be determined by student feedback from Wednesday’s event.
Bobby Kunstman, senior associate director of student life and leadership at the Union, said he believes Carolina Conversations creates a legitimate, formal space for difficult discussions.
“People don’t feel they have permission to engage in difficult conversations,” he said. “Giving them a formal space like this gives people permission to open up in a safe space to share what they feel are some of the biggest problems on campus.”
Few students came out to the event. The event started later than planned as the hosts recruited students who were passing through the Union to participate and partake in the free food. In total, around two dozen students participated.