Our Voice Matters On the Table Conversations

Let's bring American University community together to discuss the issues that matter to us.
Become a Host or Join a Table!

The “On the Table” (OTT) initiative is a powerful civic engagement initiative that will bring people from across the DMV to discuss and reimagine the future of our communities. 

OTT originated with the Chicago Community Trust in 2014 and has been replicated in over 20 communities nationwide, many funded by the Knight Foundation. 

The original in-person conversations scheduled for May 2020 have been re-conceptualized as virtual or socially distanced, face-to-face small-group conversations to occur on October 1, 2020. 

In the DMV, OTT is part of the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s (GWCF) “Voices DMV” initiative which is a three-part initiative designed to 1) Tap into community insights through a regional survey conducted by Gallup; 2) facilitate OTT conversations; and 3) support ideas sparked during conversations via Community Action Awards. 

The Kogod School of Business (KSB) at American University is the lead partner with GWCF in bringing OTT to the DMV. KSB representatives were a catalyst for the DMV initiative after working with the Chicago Community Trust during a class in 2018. 

Participate All members of the AU community are invited

American University staff, faculty, students, alumni, neighbors  and community partners are invited to participate. We invite all members of the American University community to host tables or join a table. 

Centers might host a thematic discussion, student leaders might focus on their group topic, staff might organize a discussion with faculty, faculty might integrate a conversation into their class- the options are limited only by our creativity! 

Why "On the Table" at AU?

  • OTT directly addresses three key imperatives of the American University Strategic Plan: #6, Inclusive Excellence, #7, Working with Washington and #8, Partnerships
  • The OTT conversations will provide a space for members of the AU community to convene important conversations and engage with the community or community relevant topics. 
  • The partnership will position American University as a key contributor to the success of this community-wide effort and will also connect us more directly to community organizations. 
  • The implementation of the initiative, including the creativity with which it is approached, will determine the impact of partnership on the aims of the AU strategic plan. 

Anyone in the AU community--individuals, groups, or organizations. Also, you can engage your community partners. 

Online or face-to face, with proper social distancing using our conversation guides on our custom platform, or a platform of your choosing. 

Explore data around a specific topic and ask your table participants to think about what it means for your group. Or, discuss any topic that is important to you and your group. 

6-8 for virtual gatherings

8-10 for in-person conversations (with proper social distancing)

Usually 60-90 minutes max

Some examples of tables in development:

Caroline Bruckner of the Kogod Tax Center will host a table focused on Women, Work and Covid-19: Where do we go from here? The table will include DC women business owners and KSB students as well as students from other women’s groups across campus. Women business owners are being hit disproportionately hard - particularly women of color. The conversation will explore why women business owners are being hit disproportionately hard and how to move forward. 

Nicole Angotti in the sociology department will host a table focused on an Intergenerational Intervention in lower-income communities in the DMV that brings together the elderly and the young. Specifically, this table will explore how to effectively connect both groups and provide young people with paid opportunities to support older people aging in place within their communities. The goal to improve health, wellbeing, and livelihoods needs for both groups. The conversation will explore possibilities for this social-justice informed approach to keeping resources and capital in local communities, and to creating a sustainable environment for older adults to age in place. 

We welcome your ideas, thoughts and questions. 

Your AU Representatives

Join a Conversation

Join "On the Table" (OTT), a powerful civic engagement initiative involving the AU community and the DMV area. The Kogod School of Business at American University is partnering with Greater Washington Community Foundation (GWCF) to reimagine the future of our communities in our OTT event on Thursday, October 1. Conversations can be held anytime throughout the day.

Join us as a participant or a host of a conversation with students, staff, faculty at AU and/or your neighbors on a variety of topics relevant to our collective learning and research.

We have a custom platform with several discussion guides based on data from a survey of the DMV area, and one general guide you can customize to your own topic. Topics include:

  1. Ensuring economic security in the time of Covid-19
  2. Ensuring a quality education for all
  3. Ensuring quality and affordable housing for all
  4. Ensuring a more racially equitable community
  5. Ensuring our neighbors have access to good jobs and living wages.
  6. Strengthening our communities: identifying problems and solutions


Register to Join a Conversation

The Community Foundation and our partners* will host several conversations that are open to the public which you can join. Conversations will take place at 12 noon EST on October 1.

Discussion topics will include racial equity, education, affordable housing, and more – and we’d love to see you there. Sign up today to bring your voice to the table.

Join us!