Heart to Heart started in the spring semester of 2017. It was a reaction to the election and was intended for students who felt that they were not being heard to have a place where they could speak out and share their perspectives with others. Brent Hardy and Robert Black Jr. , also known as RJ, were the students who started it.
“We had like two or three meetings,” Black said, “but we started it the middle of second semester. Then I got busy and [Hardy] got busy, and we wanted to do more, but it just didn’t happen. Then finals came and the year was over.”
It was originally intended to give more politically liberal students a space to share their thoughts and talk with each other about current issues, such as Donald Trump being elected president. However, it morphed into students from both sides of the political spectrum using the event to talk about things happening in the country and the world through a Christ-centered lens.
This year, it is being hosted by SGA’s Student Life Committee and spearheaded by Black and student body president Millie Smith. The first meeting was November 1, and Smith and Black took the opportunity to present a few discussion topics for future sessions, as well as ask students what they wanted to talk about.
Suggested topics included talking about the LGBTQ+ community, mental health, racial injustice, sexual assault, what it means to be a young Christian in today’s America, how Christians should view other religions and even talking about refugees and whether or not America needs to accept more.
“We saw such a need and the value in Heart to Heart,” Smith said. “On SGA, we always want to ask, ‘how can we grow, how can we be better, how can we combat ignorance?’”
Smith and Black want to share perspectives and help people learn more about things outside of their spheres of experience through Heart to Heart.
“For me, it’s definitely a place to learn,” Black said.
He looks at Heart to Heart as a place for people to come together and explain their perspectives on things without hostility and arguments. He said that last spring, they had some LGBTQ alumni and students come and talk about how their faith and sexual orientation affects their lives in different areas.
“You can have hard conversations — it’s okay,” Smith said. “But also having this more informative — I don’t want to say educational — but someone who is informed, who knows this stuff just so we have a basis to go back to.”
Heart to Heart is scheduled to happen on the first Wednesday of every month. The next meeting on December 6 will be focused on discussing human trafficking. Smith wants to facilitate a discussion about this issue. She said that it’s much closer to home than many people realize, and they want to talk about it more. SGA has created an event page about Heart to Heart on Facebook and put out information about the event on their various social media accounts.
“Please follow SGA on social media,” Smith said. “We really do put things out there.”