As collegiate recreation professionals, no matter our title, most of us are first and foremost in the business of developing students and creating opportunities for deliberative student learning. College campuses should be places where students are encouraged to critically examine their own views and the views of others through open and respectful conversation. Professionals in the field of collegiate recreation have the opportunity to help create environments where students do not feel oppressed or intimidated, and where learning can occur through civil discourse.

The NIRSA Assembly—a diverse body of volunteers who serve as a think tank for the profession—has compiled a list of resources that can be used to reflect on and facilitate civil discourse on campuses. The civil discourse resource guide “How to Manage and Guide Civil Discourse in Collegiate Recreation” is intended to help train collegiate recreation professionals so they can better facilitate and promote respectful dialogue on our campuses.

This resource guide will continue to be modified as a living document that strives to stay current with new programs, techniques, and ideas surrounding civil discourse. To contribute your ideas and skills, you can join the Assembly’s public Facebook group where others in the profession have been engaging in conversations surrounding civil discourse.


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator Lani Beavers.

Marie VanBuskirk is currently the Coordinator of Student Employee Development at Oakland University as well as a member of the NIRSA Assembly. She can be reached at Lani Sherman is the NIRSA Leadership Programs Coordinator. She can be reached at