GENNY BOOTS; Online Editor;

Dimly lit conversations on identity, politics and race have brought students, faculty and community members to 208 Garfield for Topics on Tap.

These events were organized about three times a semester by the Coordinator for Sustainability Integration Saiyare Refaei.

“It’s something about food and drink together—it’s a way of bringing people together in community,” Refaei said. “I think it also helps us put our guard down a little bit and be more willing jump into those difficult conversations.”

And those difficult conversations are just what she’s aiming for. Topics this year have included listening, and being an active citizen, Colin Kaepernick  “taking a knee” and learning how to engage in relationships with people of different viewpoints.

“This has been a good way to meet other people and give space to a lot of these more relevant conversations that we don’t always get to engage in in the classroom settings,” said Refaei.

The most recent Topics on Tap was held Wednesday, March 5 with Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Juliet Meggs. A group of 20 sipped beer, wine and/or hot chocolate while discussing gender and imagining the possibility of a gender-free world. Participants talked about the ways  language, action and  clothing are gendered and what it might look like if those labels were removed – if men could drink an appletini and if women could chug a beer.

“I think that both having people become aware of how our lives are gendered in ways we don’t even think about, but also thinking about how it doesn’t have to necessarily be this way, is important and what would it look like if things were different,” Meggs said. “It’s about raising awareness and opening possibility.”

The next Topics on Tap will be in May, and will feature alumnus Tad Monroe. The discussion will focus on vocation in partnership with the Wild Hope Center for Vocation. For more information on the event contact dcenter@plu ◼︎

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