graduate students offer group discussions

By Gus Bode

A roundtable discussion group for graduate students at the Interfaith Center brings speakers to facilitate discussions.

SIUC graduate students have an opportunity to bring questions about religion and other current issues to the “table.”

The Graduate Roundtable is open to all graduate students at SIUC and allows an open forum for students to talk about issues they feel are important from 5:50 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Interfaith Center, on the corner of South Illinois and Grand Avenues.


“Grad students came to us expressing a desire to sit down with their peers and discuss some of the most serious things in life,” Muldoon said.

Muldoon was excited about the idea because there are no other discussion groups in the area like the roundtable. He also is excited that graduate students can come together and have in-depth conversations.

“A lot of the graduate students don’t get to meet with their peers in other departments; this gives them that chance,” Muldoon said. “They can talk about subjects like, is there a value to developing your spiritual self, is theology important, is it important to be spiritually literate?”

Each week a guest speaker attends the discussion so students can ask questions and discuss specific issues with an expert on the subject.

“We have just a wealth of people in this community who have studied these topics and lectured on the, sometimes all over the world,” Muldoon said. “Why not bring them here?”

Guest speakers include church leaders, professors, psychologists, authors and social workers.

Wednesday, Bill Sasso, minister at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, will speak on “Doing your own Theology.” The lecture will ask students about their own life experiences and illustrate how they can find answers to life’s questions.


Sasso said he will propose five questions to the student group, using his own life as a backboard for an open discussion on theology.

“The students in their 20s often question where they came from, what their purpose is and if there is even a God,” Sasso said. “This gives students the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum and get feedback.”

David King, an SIU associate professor in biological sciences, spoke at the first roundtable session, which took place Aug. 28. Muldoon said that about 11 people attended the discussion but still feels that the discussion is beneficial.

“The number of people that come is not as important as the depth of engagement and dialogue,” Muldoon said.

Reporter Kristina Dailing can be reached at [email protected]