Dozens turn out for free food and conversation at FSU

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Tallahassee By: Katie Kaplan, WCTV Eyewitness News
September 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- An estimated 200 people turned out for an event aimed at bridging societal and cultural divides in the community.

The 'Longest Table' event was held on Tuesday night at Landis Green on the campus of Florida State University. The focus was conversation over dinner. The topic included the environment and humanity's impact on it.

"It's events like these that really are going to help contribute to the solutions of the problems facing our country," said Mark Porter, a postgraduate student.

Many people said they believed the effects of the conversation could stretch far beyond the campus.

"It's important for them to have conversations like this so they can kind of learn and develop how to learn from others," said senior Essence Duncan,.

The event lasted two hours and was focused on diversity, inclusion and the sharing of ideas. It aimed to bridge the gap between political affiliations, economic status and various backgrounds.

"I'm hoping that people just leave knowing someone else's point of view and maybe thinking a little bit more about their own and why they think the way they do," said organizer Emma Jo McAuliffe.

The dinner table was open to everyone and aguests were encouraged to sit with strangers. Guided questions for conversation acted as the table centerpiece.

"Having a very thoughtful conversation with someone I met today," said psychology major Judalyn Arthoro.

"I got some food, met some lovely lady and discussed global warming," said senior Joshua Geltzer.

It is all in an effort to bring different people together in hopes of facilitating acceptance and positivity.

The event was organized by 'Power of We', a campus initiative that is looking to reverse polarization in society. A representative said there is a bigger Longest Table event planned for the Spring.