Mandatory Student-Athlete Attendance at DePauw Dialogue Met with Mixed Reviews

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This year was the first-year that DePauw Dialogue was mandatory for all student-athletes. On top of the keynote-speaker in the morning, they were also required to attend one breakout session.

The mandatory attendance of student-athletes was met with mixed reviews. Although sophomore basketball player Ahn Le felt that parts of the day were beneficial, he claims that it shouldn’t be mandatory. “I feel like it is good for some people but not for everyone,” Le said. “I heard some complaints about how people didn’t want to go and it did not help them.”

Mixed emotions around the mandatory attendance extended beyond the basketball team. Brielle Bait, a first-year on the field hockey team, felt that while a handful of her teammates were excited for DePauw Dialogue, there were still some who did not were not as enthusiastic. “I think that it was effective on getting them there,” Bait said. “But if you went into the day not wanting to get anything out of it, then you wouldn’t get anything out of it.”

Similarly, first-year football player Will Schmidt does not think it should be mandatory after sophomore year. However, he does think that students should be required to attend for their first and sophomore year to step outside of their comfort zone. “Some people who don’t really want to go should attend and be open minded to meet new people,” Schmidt said.

In the breakout session that he attended, Schmidt did not know anyone. Due to this, he felt that it helped him listen to new perspectives and examine problems that have not affected him. “That collaboration can be important to understanding each other’s struggles,” Schmidt said. “When you go to the Day of Dialogue you start to understand what people go through that you didn’t really know about.”

The small group discussions were what stood out to Brielle Baits, a first-year on the field hockey team. “I definitely preferred it to be the small group conversations because I think that is what dialogue means,” Baits said. “You need to hear other student’s perspectives on things.”

Although this event was mandatory, there was no official check-in for athletes. As part of the Gold Commitment, first-years were expected to sign in using the Corq app. But athlete attendance was left up to the coaches to hold the other student-athletes accountable.