We were brought on to facilitate the PA Dignity Day, the statewide celebration of Global Dignity Day. This event was hosted in partnership between Penn State and the State College Borough and included multiple events throughout the day.

More than 275 people participated and engaged in intentional conversations rooted in dignity. Our involvement included:

  • guided the overall experience design of the gathering

  • designed and produced custom dignity-themed conversation cards

  • facilitated an outdoor World Cafe session in conjunction with a pop-up food truck block party

  • designed an interactive live print mosaic that participants completed throughout the day

“Spud’s creativity made a tremendous difference. People truly enjoyed the experience!”

Karen Armstrong
Director of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity, Penn State Outreach and Online Education

Dignity Day Luncheon

PA Dignity Day commenced with a luncheon titled “Dignity in Divided Times” held at the State College Municipal Building. Dr. Donna Hicks, an expert conflict mediator and creator of the dignity model, was the keynote speaker. She provided borough employees, community leaders, and Penn State students, faculty, and staff with practical techniques for managing local dynamics.

During this talk, participants sparked conversations with one another using custom dignity-themed question cards that we designed for the event. Following the lunch, a group conversation took place to explore the application of dignity principles to unique situations in our community.

A behind-the-scenes look at the event from a facilitator’s perspective

Engaging the Community in Dialogue

Later in the day, the event transitioned to a community-wide dialogue in downtown State College where more than 200 people participated. This dialogue, set against the lively backdrop of a DJ and offerings from local food trucks, provided a platform for participants to discuss local topics using the dignity model.

We facilitated a World Cafe session that encouraged participants to move between tables and meet their neighbors throughout multiple rounds of conversation. Because of the block party energy, many joined in simply because they walked by and were curious. Participants were encouraged to make connections with people they didn’t previously know and learn more about them. Those who attended frequently remarked how the environment we created allowed for them to share openly with people they just met and that the entire evening felt like a much-needed bonding experience between neighbors.

In addition, the event generated lots of excitement from local media outlets which helped spread the message beyond just those in attendance.

Interactive Live Print Mosaic

To further enhance the sense of community, we designed a collaborative, interactive mosaic that symbolized our collective effort to promote dignity. Upon arrival attendees received a discussion card and a picture to add to a mural. Each photo was of members in the community, and as the evening progressed, the mural evolved.

As each photo was placed, an image of the state of Pennsylvania emerged, creating a visual representation of the day’s discussions and the shared commitment to dignity. This activity not only fostered creativity but also provided a tangible way for attendees to leave their mark on the event.

The success of this event underscores the importance of creating spaces where people can come together to discuss, reflect, and celebrate the values that unite us.

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