Conversations for the Common Good

Conversations for the Common Good

Conversations for the common good is an interdisciplinary, university and community-wide movement linking Bloomsburg University students, staff, faculty, and administrators, plus community partners and the general public in a single goal: to invest time, talent, and resources to promote dialogue that unites, and bridges seemingly vast divides, within the community it serves.

Inspired by the VIA/BU collaboration American Creed in February 2018, and underwritten with the generous support of the Office of the President of Bloomsburg University, this movement hopes to generate informed, civilized discourse about meaningful questions related to civic life in a twenty-first-century democracy.

  • What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?
  • What responsibilities do we have to one another in our community?
  • What rights do we enjoy under the Constitution?
  • Do all citizens enjoy those rights equally, and what are we called to do if the answer is “no?”
  • What is the real meaning of the guarantee of free speech embodied in the First Amendment, especially in the age of social media?
  • How should U.S. citizens respond when public expressions of protest are questioned and criticized?
  • Where do we find truth in public media, especially on the internet?
  • How do we distinguish between reliable and false information presented through social media outlets?
  • What is “hate speech,” and should it be protected the same way as other kinds of speech?
  • How should we respond when we see hate speech used?
  • What liberties do we possess as citizens, and how do we appropriately claim them?
  • What responsibilities do we have as citizens, and how do we live up to them?
  • What are the common values that unite us, when political passions and rhetoric sometimes enflame and divide us?

These questions may make us uncomfortable but are essential to explore. In Conversations for the common good, we explore such questions in interactive community events that are free and open to the public.


Upcoming Conversations

2021-22 Conversations

20th Anniversary of September 11 Terrorist Attacks

The 9/11 attacks: actions and reactions

  • The attacks
  • Islamophobia
  • The rush to revenge: war in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Extremist recruitment
  • Rendition and detention
  • Healing and restorative justice
  • Memorials and museums: historical memory/historical accuracy


2020-21 Conversations - POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Migration and Immigration

In partnership with The Exchange, Bloomsburg

  • Photographic exhibit, October/November: "Out of Many"
  • Keynote with Khizr Khan, Pakistani-American activist Sept. 23, 2020
  • Artists’ talk/reception (“Out of Many”) - Oct. 10, 2020, The Exchange
  • Keynote with Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost children archive (2019), Oct 15, 2020
  • Migration/immigration stories in Columbia County
  • Immigration in northeast Pennsylvania: Hazleton


Past Conversations

Conversations for the Common Good

Conversations for the Common Good Organizers

Elizabeth Dowd, Actor/Director/Producer, The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble
David Heineman, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Oren Helbok, Executive Director, The Exchange
William V. Hudon, Professor of History
Lydia Kegler, Director, Bloomsburg Public Library
Elizabeth L. Miller, Rule of Law Fellow, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Chris Norton, Senior Vice-President, VIA Public Media
Madelyn Rodriguez, Director, Multicultural Center
Shavonne Shorter, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Lisa M. Stallbaumer-Beishline, Professor of History
Albra Wheeler, Director, Women’s Resource Center

Common Good Contact

William V. Hudon
Department of History
400 E. Second St.
Bloomsburg, PA 17815


Thank you to our community partners!