Our CommonGround program is one way that student organizations, residence halls, Greek life, academic courses, and other campus communities can request programs that raise awareness about social identities (race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.), prejudice, stereotyping, power, privilege, and oppression. Facilitated and coordinated by trained U-M undergraduate and graduate students, these interactive workshops help promote social identity development and enhance group dynamics, while building a community of social justice advocates on campus.
Workshops are designed around a 1.5 to 3 hour time frame and are customized to your group's needs. If you don't see a topic that interests you, please let us know and we can work with you to explore various opportunities. We request that all workshops be requested three weeks prior to the event.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do I request a CommonGround workshop?
We have a request form that can be found here: http://igr.umich.edu/content/request-workshop. Once you fill out this form, a notice will be sent to our office and we will contact you with further details.
Q: What is CommonGround’s procedure for workshop requests?
After we receive a request, our Logistics Coordinator assigns a Workshop Manager to do an intake meeting with the requestor to assess their needs and goals. This is all the requester has to do!
Following the intake meeting, the Workshop Manager will find Workshop Facilitators who are available to do the workshop. Together, the Workshop Manager and Facilitators will have a meeting to determine the agenda and curriculum for the workshop. Finally, the Facilitators will attend the workshop and facilitate the activities decided upon. After the workshop, the Logistics Coordinator will follow up with the requestor and send them the workshop evaluations collected.
Q: What does a CommonGround workshop look like?
No two CommonGround workshops look exactly alike! Here at CommonGround, we want to be sure we are meeting your group’s individual needs and goals. During our intake meeting, we will assess what the group most wants to accomplish, and then we will decide on specific activities accordingly. While there is no “script” for a workshop, CommonGround activities address themes of communicating across difference social identities (race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc), how power and privilege function within a group dynamic, and how to effectively navigate social identity tensions.
Q: What topics does a CommonGround workshop cover?
CommonGround workshops and activities may address the following themes. CommonGround workshops are not limited to these topics; rather, this list provides a general idea of the kind of topics we cover.
Why Are All the ______ Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
- Discuss the phenomenon of segregation on college campuses and its complexities
Communicating Across Identities
- A closer look at how social identity can impact conflict and communication.
Understanding the Campus Climate
- Explore how social identities impact the way students interact and how one can change the way the campus feels.
Power and Influence in Group
- Look at the way social identities affect group dynamics and discuss strategies for effective teamwork.
- Analyze the use of media messages and how they affect our own concept of social groups.
Action: Making a difference and becoming an Ally
- Illuminate many misconceptions and realities of active participation.
The American Dream: A Conversation on Privilege
- Understand “privilege” and “meritocracy” by utilizing an interactive board game.
- Give meaning to the term “oppression” and its impact on everyday life.
- Explore the ways that we’ve been socialized by messages and how they affect us and society.
Stereotyping and Social Constructions/Assumptions
- Examine the concept and consequences of stereotyping, and your assumptions of social issues.
Q: How long is a Common Ground workshop?
Workshops are typically 1.5 to 3 hours long. While we are able to be somewhat flexible with time, please note that in order to be most effective, our workshops and activities require at least an hour and a half.
Q: How do I know if a Common Ground workshop is right for me?
A Common Ground workshop may be right for you if:
- You have noticed tension or conflict within your group due to social identities such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.
- Your group’s mission encourages awareness surrounding social identities, power, privilege, and oppression
- You are simply curious to know more about how social identities, privilege, and oppression function within group dynamics
- Though our workshops often enhance these skills, Common Ground does not directly cover workshops on leadership, team building or conflict resolution.
We are a student-run program for students! We do not put on workshops for staff
Request a workshop for your organization!
Click Here to learn more about Getting Involved in CommonGround
Direct any questions towards -- IGRCommonGround@umich.edu