Beginning the week of June 8, Penn State Berks will reach out to the local community in a brand new way – through LionSide Chats, a modern interpretation of President Roosevelt’s Depression-era “Fireside Chats.”
These webinars will provide current and timely talks from college faculty and staff experts in a variety of topics and disciplines. Currently slated to run in the months of June, July and August, the one-hour webinars (30 minutes of content, 30 minutes discussion/questions) are free and open to the public. All LionSide Chats will be delivered via Zoom webinars and a complete schedule of talks will be available on the LionSide Chats website.
The inaugural LionSide chat series will engage audience members in conversations involving the current state of our world. Academic talks ranging from “What is a coronavirus?" (microbiology), “Flattening the Curve” (mathematics), “Justice on Lockdown” (criminal justice) and even “Where’s My Toilet Paper?” (supply chain management) aim to connect listeners with educational experts across many disciplines.
In addition, another series of LionSide Chats will provide high school students and parents an opportunity to engage with higher education professionals around topics related to preparing for the transition to college during these unprecedented times.
Inspired by his family and friend’s desire for intellectual engagement during the current stay-at-home orders, Ryan Hassler, associate teaching professor of mathematics at Penn State Berks, realized that the faculty and staff at the college could help to fill that void. After approaching colleagues Dawn Pfeifer Reitz, assistant teaching professor of communication arts and sciences, and Sonia Delaquito, learning center coordinator, they put their heads together and came up with the concept for LionSide Chats, an educational platform for communication and gathering as our nation continues to face the challenges of COVID-19.
Hassler stated, “What most impressed me was the faculty and staff who immediately indicated interest in offering a LionSide Chat based on their own unique expertise. LionSide Chats will enable us to reach beyond the boundaries of our campus and invite ourselves into the homes of our neighbors as we provide enriched and engaged dialog for our community.”
Delaquito commented, “In a time when the majority of our everyday tasks have shifted online, this is Penn State Berks’ attempt to bridge the gap between the community and the college.”
Reitz summarized, “The LionSide Chat series is a classic example of great ideas blossoming through communication and collaboration.”