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Rhetoric's Conversation Center

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
58 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 22, at 11:55 PM CDT
Project Owners

Rhetoric's Conversation Center

The Conversation Center supports intercultural communication skills at the University of Iowa. Co-founded January 2016 and run as a collaborative effort between dedicated undergraduate students and Rhetoric faculty, we host quality one-on-one and small-group conversation between international students (undergrad and grad) and confident English speakers (enrolled in a 3-credit service-learning course, RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum).


As both international and domestic students practice their communication skills at the Conversation Center, they connect with their larger communities and encourage a rich exchange of culture on campus. We firmly believe the University of Iowa can create a more welcoming environment for international students and that all can benefit from the diversity on campus.


Since our 2016 founding:  96 practicum students have hosted 522 unique conversation seekers for a total of 3,471 sessions, & are asking you to support our continued success.


& we go beyond developing one-on-one communication skills with our Peer Leader Program, where Practicum graduates return as mentors and help run the program. They often speak in front of large audiences, whether recruiting conversation seekers, practicum students, or staff and faculty collaborators (e.g., the State of the Center, a catered event where Peer Leaders spoke before faculty, staff and student representatives from all over campus, including the University President). They develop promotional materials and present at conferences about our work.


They become leaders by becoming advocates for international engagement on campus and beyond.


& we extend our support beyond the University to immigrant and refugee populations in the Iowa City area, partnering with local non-profits (like the Friendship-Community Project, which teaches ESL, and the MERGE space, “the living room of Iowa City”) to host drop-in conversation practice we call the Community Conversation.


In sum, we work to remove social barriers: for our students, for our community members, for our society. That we might reach out more easily, that we might learn from each other, that we might build leaders capable of reaching out across difference to make things work.


We seek financial support for our Conversation Program, our Peer Leader Program, and our Community Conversation:  

  • Space (e.g., Community Conversation space would cost $2,700/year)
  • Marketing (to connect to all who might benefit in the University, community, and beyond)
  • Scholarship support for RHET:2090 students (ensuring supportive access to everyone)
  • Conference travel and accommodation (e.g., last fall 4 Peer Leaders spoke together at the Iowa Civic Action Academy in Des Moines)
  • Human comforts (conversation is more human over a cup of coffee or a pot of tea)



NOTICE: The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Center for Advancement disclosures site for additional information.

Choose a giving level



13 is the number of practicum students in an early semester. These dedicated undergraduates staff our program, and work tirelessly to engage and re-center international perspectives at the University of Iowa.



Our shortest appointments are a quick 30 minutes, letting students get to know each other and fit easily into busy schedules.



Our longer appointments are a full 60 minutes, giving students a chance to delve more deeply into communication across difference.



96 is the number of Dedicated Confident English speaking Practicum Students trained hands-on by supporting UI international students, this impressive group includes international students, students from bi-lingual homes, international adoptees, and students from a diverse set of academic background with one thing in common: the desire and drive to support their international peers.


International Representation

117 is the number of countries of origin of UI international students.



A gift at this level would help cover the cost for beverages for 2 pairs of 10 week sessions.



522 is the number of of International Conversation Seekers since Spring 2016.



811 is the number of conversations in our first semester (Spring 2016).


Golden Sponsor

2016 was the year we established the Conversation Center.


Platinum Sponsor

A gift at this level is equal to $1 for each individual, one-on-one Conversation Center session.

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