National Agenda students who chose the FreeIC initiative as their
group project this semester have taken the ball and enthusiastically run
with it, not only seeking out strangers to engage in conversation but
also planning to continue the effort through a new registered student
organization called Let’s Talk.
Free Intelligent Conversation is a national nonprofit organization founded by Kyle Emile, who said that we all need to talk to strangers more than ever.
In 2013, as an undergraduate psychology student, he set out to prove
that, just by holding a sign in a public place, anyone can create
meaningful dialogue between strangers. He and a group of friends began
the project in Chicago, where the response to the signs was large,
diverse and overwhelmingly positive, and the organization has been
expanding ever since.
In October, Emile visited UD to speak with the National Agenda
and Let’s Talk students on campus who were regularly standing on The
Green with their signs offering a “Free Intelligent Conversation” to
The objectives of the movement include celebrating each other’s
differences, creating places where people can talk about anything and
encouraging meaningful, face-to-face conversations.
At UD, although the project came about through National Agenda, the conversations aren’t generally political.
“We talk about any subject,” said Rayavarapu, who is serving as
president of the new RSO. “It sometimes becomes political, but that’s
not the goal. The goal is to engage with each other.”
The National Agenda students are not only inviting and participating
in these conversations but also conducting research for the class
project. Through the use of a questionnaire, they hope to measure the
levels of engagement that occur under various circumstances.
Up next for National Agenda
National Agenda continues its “Direction Democracy” theme with its final two 2019 speakers.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a 1984
UD alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke Nov. 6 on
“Deciphering Political Power.” A former federal prosecutor, Christie is the author of a new book,
Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of
In-Your-Face Politics. Learn more about his National Agenda talk in this UDaily article.
The speaker series will conclude on Wednesday, Nov. 20, when John Della Volpe, director of polling at the
Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, will speak on “Measuring
Millennials.” He is the founder of SocialSphere, a public opinion and
analytics company, and frequently appears on national media outlets.
talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in Mitchell Hall and, like all events in this
series, is free and open to the public. Registration, at this website, is optional but recommended for Della Volpe’s appearance.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Andre Smith and Evan Krape; video by Paul Puglisi and Jason Hinmon
Published Nov. 8, 2019