Skip to main content

The Great Debate and Civic Expo

10/30/2013 09:59AM, Published by Claudia Mosby, Categories: In Print, Community




Story by Claudia Mosby

After contentious town hall meetings in 2009, Chico’s then-Assistant City Manager, John Rucker, turned for help to the communications faculty at Chico State University. It turns out many folks do not know how to disagree without being disagreeable.

“He came to us because he was concerned about the tone at many of the city council meetings and asked how we could train the next generation to do better,” says Zach Justus, an assistant professor of communication who coordinates the university’s public speaking courses.

After consultation with city officials, Justus and his colleagues created the Great Debate & Civic Expo, a day-long event held each semester to engage students and community members on hot-button topics.  “We want to demonstrate to students that they can have a discussion without shouting,” says Justus. “There’s a real emphasis on civility. We really hope this serves as a model of civil and civic discourse.”

The event represents the culmination of semester-length student research and presentations on the chosen theme. Faculty members tie into community and campus events and bring speakers into the classroom to build on existing resources and excite and motivate students about the topic and events.

Topic selection is collaborative, and each semester, faculty members, students and representatives from local government meet to discuss and decide the next semester’s theme, which for Fall 2013 is mental health and policies that affect California. “The community is also heavily involved in choosing,” says Justus. “It’s really produced the best results for us.”

The Great Debate & Civic Expo has grown from 300 student participants at its first event in 2010 to more than 2,000 students and several hundred community members each semester. Butte and Shasta Colleges joined as partners in Fall 2010 and Spring 2013, respectively.

“These events provide students with the confidence that they can participate in meaningful discussions about important issues that affect our communities,” says Shelly Presnell, Communication Studies faculty coordinator at Shasta College. “They leave the event feeling empowered by the knowledge that they can make a difference.”

Although the event is non-partisan, Justus says it draws attendance from the Republican and Democratic parties as well as other community groups, offering tremendous value to those who sit across the table from others who hold a different point of view.

“There are lots of places to see hot-button issues talked about, but not many places to see those things talked about well,” says Justus. “If people want to see something that is a real departure from what they would find on cable news, this is the place to come.” •


www.csuchico.edu/fye/greatdebate/

530.898.5883

All events open to the public.

THEME: Mental Health & Policies Affecting California 


The Great Debate – Chico State University (and Butte College)

Friday, Nov. 1

9 am (all day): Student debates, presentations and facilitated discussion groups. 

6:30 pm: Evening debate - Chico State University speech and debate team paired with politicians, local activists, lobbyists and other community members.

Location: City Council Chambers, City Plaza, Chico.


The Great Debate & Civic Expo – Shasta College, Redding

Thursday, Nov. 7 – Great Debate

6-7:30 pm: Shasta College Speech and Debate team. Participants can use electronic polling clickers (anonymously) and/or engage in a question-and-answer period at the conclusion of the debate.  

Location: Redding Public Library, Community Rooms A & B 


Friday, Nov. 8 – Civic Expo

9 am – 1 pm: Student-produced interactive booths with activities and opportunity to dialogue.

Location:  Shasta College Cafeteria




civil liberty john rucker civic expo non-partisan butte college shasta collegechico state university debate zach justus


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Community Organizer Training

    03/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Are you interested in starting a movement or creating change? Come to our workshop to learn more!


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/24/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/24/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Community Organizer Training

    03/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Are you interested in starting a movement or creating change? Come to our workshop to learn more!


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/24/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/24/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Cesar Chavez Day of Service

    03/25/2017
    07:00AM

    Clean up day in memory of Mr. Chavez to honor his legacy of commitment to equality and community ...


  • Dolores Huerta Day of Service

    03/25/2017
    08:00AM

    Feed the Homeless Event. We will be assisting with feeding the homeless population in Tehama Coun...


  • FREE family fun. Come join us at our 5th annual poultry show. See hundreds of purebred chickens a...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/25/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/25/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • We'll have live music at the Tied House as we celebrate! All In DIPA 16oz cans release party! Sp...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    03/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Canvas and Cocktails

    03/25/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come drink and paint with us! You don’t need ANY art experience to enjoy this evening of fun, mus...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    03/25/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Pretty In Pink Prom

    03/25/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    Join Nor-Cal Think Pink at their 2nd Annual Pretty In Pink Prom Benefit Night. Enjoy hors d'oeurv...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    03/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants

    04/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come walk with David Ledger from the Native Plant Society. Enjoy the beauty of blooming wildflow...


  • Tarzan

    04/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors