Ask Big Questions is an initiative of Hillel, which brings diverse college students together for conversations that help people understand themselves and others. KU Hillel has been a part of the initiative this past year with Rabbi Schuster spearheading the conversations. A “big question,” is not the same as a “hard question” rather it is one that matters to everyone and that everyone can answer. Big questions have the potential to tap people’s sense of curiosity and to draw out wisdom. Examples used for Ask Big Questions include: For whom are we responsible? What do we choose to ignore? Where do you feel at home? How does technology change us? Where do you give? What will your legacy be?
The conference focused on training students like Gewirtz, Katz and London who spent three days learning how to facilitate these conversations back at KU. “I am eager to see what the two other interns and I will put together to make ABQ a profound experience back on campus,” said Katz.
This will be the second year for Ask Big Questions at KU Hillel. Six of the students who trained to facilitate conversations last year remain involved in other roles and, along with London, who is in his second year with the project, as well as Gewirtz and Katz, KU Hillel plans to make the most of their training by expanding and deepening their use of the ABQ methodology.
In talking about how they plan to approach Ask Big Questions this year, Rabbi Schuster spoke about some of the lessons of the previous year. “We discovered that, as much as we were bringing groups together for the specific purpose of having these conversations, more and more we were using the overall approach in all kinds of other settings. The whole methodology and set of tools for Ask Big Questions is tremendously effective and impactful, so this year we are very purposefully integrating it into a variety of different areas of our programming. It's amazing how much and how quickly it can bring a greater depth to a gathering or activity. It's also a very powerful way to get to know other people. When you sit with a group of people and have one of these conversations, where you're sharing and exploring ideas and really engaging with each other, you walk away knowing the other people in a much deeper way than you would otherwise."