The Stubblefield Institute encouraged students to come out and carve pumpkins while having civil discussions about politics. Photo by Conner DeHaven

Carving Pumpkins and Sharing Civil Discourse

The Stubblefield Institute Student Advisory Council hosted a pumpkin carving contest on Tuesday, October 26th.

Participants took an online survey about where they stand on political issues. At the event, they were partnered up with a student with opposing viewpoints to have civil discussions about their political views. Participants received prizes and there were treats for everyone who participated.

 “This event is about having fun, being, civil, and expanding your horizons by meeting people who think differently than you,” says Stubblefield SAC on Instagram.

I had a chance to talk to Peter Proctor, the president of the Stubblefield SAC. He said, “This event is about bringing Shepherd students together. It is not necessarily about discussing politics but about unifying students”.

Students carve pumpkins while peacefully discussing opposing views on politics. Photo by Conner DeHaven

Since the 2016 election, there seems to be a great divide between political parties in America. It can be frustrating to see such partisanship within the same country, and it constantly seems both parties are always at each other’s throats. This is not just seen on the news like in recent years. It is now common to see this on social platforms.

Social media has created platforms where users can put every thought they have. It seems over the past couple of years that there are more arguments about politics. The comment section becomes flooded with people arguing over their political opinions.

 When asked about the divide in political parties, Proctor agreed, and responded: “People will realize that political views really do not matter”. It is important as a community to create an environment where students feel comfortable no matter what their opinions are.

 This is the goal of the Stubblefield Institute. The institute was started in 2019 with a gift from Drs. Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield. The mission of the institute is to create an environment that promotes civil discourse and positive civic engagement. Not only for students but for the public as well.

“We seek to demonstrate that when opposing viewpoints are respected and legitimized in ways that avoid negative labeling, alienation, and silencing, it can strengthen our nation’s ability to better challenges and solve problems,” says the Stubblefield Institute on their website.

The event turned out successful and allowed students to discuss political issues while doing something they enjoy such as carving pumpkins. 18 students competed in the event. “The event went really well! We had a good amount of people come to work together on carving pumpkins,” says Proctor.

Politics play an important role in society, but it is also important to remember that there should be unity on campus and in the surrounding areas. Respecting others’ opinions will get you farther than attacking what they believe in. It is also good to keep in mind that these are just political opinions and do not always change a person’s character.

If you are interested in learning more about the Stubblefield Institute you can check out their website at as well as the Stubblefield SAC Instagram @stubblefieldsac.


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