Throughout 2015-16, the one-year OpenXChange initiative focused on creating diverse spaces in which a variety of open conversations around pressing societal issues could take place. Many of our events and activities—whether the large-scale speaker series featuring guests like Bryan Stevenson, Cory Booker, or Fareed Zakaria, along with several distinguished Stanford faculty experts—or more small-scale programming like discussions hosted within residence halls, have helped us achieve what we set out to accomplish during the year. We have also been encouraged by the significant number of campus partners who embraced the opportunity to co-sponsor events or lead conversations in their own spaces, including Stanford’s community centers, and other partners like CCSRE, the Haas Center for Public Service, FSI, and the Clayman Institute. In addition, we have forged effective partnerships with a variety of student groups. Approximately 7000 faculty, staff, and students took part in some element of OpenXChange programming. Still, this year of OpenXChange marks only a beginning in the work of creating an atmosphere on campus in which we can have informed discussions across difference.
As the year of OpenXChange comes to a close, we are reflecting on its many different components of and giving thought to what elements could potentially be sustained or need to be continued. We know that certain efforts associated with OpenXChange—conversations in the residences, student initiated programming, and new course offerings—should endure. Looking ahead to the 2016-17 academic year, we will evaluate the efforts of OpenXChange and consider what can persist from this past year and what new opportunities might be accessed. We will also consult with incoming President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on next steps.