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OrangeBand.org

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kai



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:46 pm?? ?Post subject: OrangeBand.org Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I have recently been directed to NCDD and am overjoyed to know an effort exists to connect so many like-minded folks! Two years ago, I started The OrangeBand Initiative with a group of friends at James Madison University in Harrisonburg VA.

Our goal is simple: getting people talking about issues they care about. We hand out orange strips of fabric that can be decorated to represent an issue important to whoever decides to wear one. The band can be put on a bag or somewhere else and, when someone asks "What's your OrangeBand?", a conversation can ensue about that issue and others.

In two years, over 6,000 people have voluntarily decided to take a band and we have cooridnated over 50 nonpartisan, discussion-based forums. We have learned we arer tapping into something much bigger than anything we could have created ourselves: a broad desire for a space for open, civil discourse about meaningful contemporary issues.

We have some big plans, the main one being a bus tour designed to promote the idea and process of civil discourse. I invite you to visit www.OrangeBand.org to learn more about the organization, and I am excited to learn more about yours!

Kai Degner
www.OrangeBand.org
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Sandy



Joined: 20 Jan 2004
Posts: 45
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:25 pm?? ?Post subject: The orange bands are a fabulous idea, Kai! Reply with quote

Thanks so much for posting to the Forum, Kai. I'm glad someone referred you to NCDD -- you obviously should be a part of what we're doing.

I'm about to email our main discussion list about your post; 400 people are on that list, and I'd like them to hear about what you're doing. I'm really impressed with the idea of the orange bands - it's such a great idea, and so simple! One of the questions the dialogue & deliberation community struggles with is "how can we introduce people to this stuff in a compelling, brief way that sticks with them?" You've clearly found a way to do that very well.

Kai - please send me an email when you can, so that we can keep in touch. Among other things, I'd like to connect you with some dialogue & deliberation leaders at other colleges. And please consider joining NCDD (it's free, for now anyway).

Keep up the great work!

Sandy

Convenor, NCDD

802-254-7341
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jpadgett



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:46 am?? ?Post subject: OrangeBand Reply with quote

Kai - Thanks for such an interesting idea. It is a great student project - and can, as you say, have long reaching impact. Am interested in how you moved from using the bands to the actual forms. Sincerely, Julianna
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Julianna D. Padgett, LCSW, Ph.D.
Southern University at New Orleans
School of Social Work
504-284-5469
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kai



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:13 am?? ?Post subject: More information Reply with quote

Hi Sandy and Juliana,

Thanks for your replies, questions, and willingness to share our idea!

J - I have posted an article that outlines the methodology of OrangeBand, including the way we move from the bands to the forums. check out http://orangeband.org/ob_cuttinged.pdf

Mainly, though, we feel it is important to supplement the general unstructured dialogue created by the bands with an opportunity for people to hear what educated perspectives have to say about the issues. Each semester, we pick a 1- or 2-week time to have an Action Campaign, which will focus on a combination of local, national, and international issues (e.g. diversity on campus, US healthcare, AIDS in Africa). The two weeks start with a blitz of OrangeBands being made available, which then bring attention to the string of forums that we have coordinated. Sneaky, huh?

S - You hit the nail on the head by suggesting OrangeBand has a quality of stickiness (have you read The Tipping Point, too?). It is amazing how many people decide to take a band once they hear it is a symbol for dialogue and that they may use one to invite people into a conversation about a topic they care about. Most people do not actually decorate their bands, but most DO leave it on their bag - some for more than a year now.

As you, we think there is a powerful synergy to be had between the many different groups dedicated to dialogue processes. While OrangeBand does not have the academic grounding that would suggest we know anything about what we're doing, we ARE able to hook people - college students, high school students, professors, parents, grandpartents, white, blacks, asians, rockers, rappers, country music fans, sports fans, computer hackers....

At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I wonder whether the bands can be used as a stepping stone for people who are, at first, interested but unaware of the many efforts to increase the level of civil discourse (and engagement). Maybe it is as simple as directing people to the NCDD website. Perhaps other groups in the NCDD network could make OrangeBands available here and there as a way to allow others to express their desire for a more open discourse, and then educate those people about the work their group is doing.

I'll stop ranting for now, but there is so much more to share - and hear from you!

Kai
540-409-6813
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jpadgett



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:42 pm?? ?Post subject: orange band Reply with quote

Kai -
Thanks for the link. I just printed out and scanned the 4 pages. I see that your intention is to spread this to other campuses. I would certainly like to explore that here on our small HBCU campus in New Orleans. And if you're thinking of coming this far south, would be great to have you stop on the Fall Bus tour. Julianna
_________________
Julianna D. Padgett, LCSW, Ph.D.
Southern University at New Orleans
School of Social Work
504-284-5469
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