Promoting community and dialogue on campus

In 2018, we partnered with the Cornell University Library and the department of International Affairs, to bring a Portal to Olin Library for the Fall semester. Our goal was to create a hub for campus engagement both for students and members of the local community in Cornell. It became a unique activation for the school to give something meaningful to students and build a broader sense of belonging to the community that the university resided in.

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We trained students and library staff in solutions-based facilitation, a methodology that moves beyond positions, to connect interests and bridge differences. Through dynamic academic and non-academic Portal conversations, the Cornell community explored black identity and speculative thought_,_ the importance of women STEM fields, and collaborated to build innovation strategies with minimal resources. There were also musical collaborations between local folk musicians and players from the Afghan National Institute of Music in Kabul.


Across the 3 months, over 2,400 students, faculty and residents participated in the Portal experience. The Olin Library became a hub for students and community to interact, and a space to  promote some of their own initiatives. Not only did students become more engaged through a variety of programming, but it also became a focal point for the local community and university students to interact and become closer.








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