Summer 2017 Paid Student Intensive

Resetting the Table (RTT) invites applications from current or recent undergraduates for a week-long paid opportunity in July 2017 to serve in a new program building communication across red/blue divides in the U.S. Students may apply for one, two, or three week Intensives to join Resetting the Table in a Listening Campaign in rural Wisconsin in counties that swung “blue” to “red” in the 2016 presidential election. They will be paired with an RTT facilitator to conduct and transcribe 25 conversations/week with local residents. Students will receive training in communication skills for dialogue across political differences and mentorship from veterans in the field.

Who Is Resetting the Table?
Drawing from dialogue and mediation expertise, RTT has developed a celebrated methodology, conceptual framework and practical toolkit for communication across political divides. Forged in the volatile minefield surrounding disagreements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, RTT’s approach supports parties to discuss difficult and passionate issues, to deliberate over those issues in partnership, and to sustain that spirit of partnership when significant disagreements arise. With skilled facilitators and carefully structured process, RTT enables diverse stakeholders to speak, listen, challenge each other, and make decisions together with honesty, mutual recognition and respect.

What is RTT’s Resetting the American Table Project?
Resetting the American Table is a new program dedicated to restoring civic connection and communication across the geographic and ideological divides of American life.

In naming Donald Trump as their Person of the Year, Time declared that he will be presiding over the “Divided States of America.” Americans increasingly live in ideological echo chambers, as evidenced acutely by the recent presidential election. Citizens sustain far fewer friendships with people of different political orientations today than they did thirty years ago. Most of us come into contact with those who think differently than we do less and less, intensifying the ease with which we can dismiss and demonize our counterparts. These patterns inflict considerable communal and societal damage, corroding our democracy and capacity for problem-solving. A healthy democracy depends on vigorous debate and sustained cooperation among citizens who, regardless of their differences, see themselves as part of a shared “we.”

The Listening Campaign in Wisconsin will be a first step in an ongoing effort to build communication across these great chasms in today’s America.

The Intensive
Students will spend 1-3 weeks immersed in this project, living with Resetting the Table’s nationally recognized lead staff and facilitators in Viroqua, WI. As part of the program, you will:

  • Receive training and mentorship in RTT’s facilitation framework
  • Be paired with a trained RTT facilitator each week
  • Help conduct 3-5 conversations a day in the field
  • Transcribe up to five conversations each day

Students will receive a $350 stipend for the week, in addition to travel and accommodations.

To apply, please send a resume and short letter to that responds to the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to participate in this program?
  2. What is your prior background in dialogue across differences? Why do you think you are a good fit for this program?
  3. Are you someone able to sustain empathy and earn trust among people who see the world very differently than do you? Please give an example demonstrating this capacity.