Free speech, free pizza
For the Times Talk on Jan. 24, Professor Pate McMichael led a conversation on censorship, but he didn’t have to do much—the passionate and informative discussion practically drove itself. Like every week, the talk was far from lacking in zeal and energy.
Times Talks are woven into the history of Georgia College and the Milledgeville community. There have been around 350 discussions and 12,000 total participants since the talks began in 2005.
At each Times Talk, a facilitator leads the discussion on a particular topic, but they then open the floor for those attending to ask questions, provide insight and share personal experiences of their own. Students, professors and Milledgeville residents are invited to attend and provide their own input.
For 50 minutes every Wednesday, the back corner of Georgia College’s library is filled with the sounds of discussion and the smell of free pizza, which is offered in exchange for your attendance and attentiveness.
“The essence of a college education is learning for the sake of learning,” said rhetoric professor Janet Hoffman. “What I love about Times Talk is that’s exactly what it’s about, and the topic changes. It’s always something fresh and new, and people bring different perspectives to it.”
The talks focus on content from a variety of articles in the New York Times. GC offers students a way to download the paper for free on NYTimes.com.
“This is what college is really about,” said McMichael. “Liberal arts schools in particular should be very vocal and vibrant. They should have places where students talk about the important things like government, religion, math, politics or science. This is a space to do that. It’s voluntary to show up.”
Even the silence during a Times Talk is charged with a thought-provoking energy. This is typical of the atmosphere, according to senior Tavaris Johnson, a sociology major.
“I plan my schedule around this because I enjoy coming to them,” Johnson said. “Sometimes I’m learning about issues that I know nothing about, so I get to hear from a scholar on that issue. It gets me to think about things in different ways.”
This semester will feature talks on technology, politics and more. Head over to the library every Wednesday at 12 p.m. for free pizza and discussion.
“What I think students can get out of it is what we’re all really here for: Knowledge is power.” Hoffman said. “We’re all truth-seekers. These [Times Talks] should spark the beginning of curiosity.”