Meet Hannah Goodman (CAS '22)—The Brains Behind Boston University's TableTalk

Hannah Goodman believes everyone should have a voice. That’s why she helped start Boston University’s chapter of TableTalk. TableTalk creates a place for members to have conversations in a safe space. While the topics are usually things not normally discussed outside of a classroom, they can really be about anything members are interested in talking about. Hannah is getting people to share their opinions with others who may have different perspectives.

Where did the idea for Boston University Table Talk come from and what is your role in it?

"TableTalk is actually a national non-profit organization that has many clubs at different high schools and colleges around the country. I was connected through a mutual friend with one of the co-founders who asked me to start the Boston University chapter, and since I loved the idea, I agreed to do it. I am the president of Boston University TableTalk."

Image Credit: Hannah Goodman

How did you get the organization started? Where did you find others who were interested?

"The first person I talked to about it was a good friend of mine, Ally Brown, who agreed to help me get the club running. She is my VP. After that I asked my FY101 class if anyone was interested and a friend of mine, Naomi Gewirtzman, was and she is now my secretary. The problem at that point was that all of my board so far were freshman and were girls, so my goal was to find a guy and someone older so we could have diversity. I asked my friend Cole Potter in my neuroscience discussion if he or anyone he knows would be interested.

 Later that day, he agreed to be my Treasurer. So I had my E-board, but I didn’t know where to find funding or have events. I talked to some staff members at Hillel about what I was doing and they allowed my club to be a part of their BU Leadership Team (BLT). That was where we have been getting all of our funding and marketing from since we are still in the application process of getting BU recognition from SAO. From there we planned our first events starting second semester last year and have been growing from there. 

We also gained two of our facilitators, Nick Buscemi and Vanessa Loo from our first meeting. They are the people, along with me and the rest of my E-board, that facilitate the conversations at our events."

Image Credit: Hannah Goodman

Who can join?

"Any interested undergrad can join! We even have openings to be a facilitator!"

What kinds of activities and events do you do?

"There are two main events that we hold. The first one being the original TableTalks. What happens at these events is that a topic is chosen before the event and my team with the facilitators will write an agenda, which is a list of questions, surrounding the topic that we want to talk about. Then at the event we will sit down with either dinner or desserts and go through the agenda in either one large group or a few small groups, depending on how many people are there, and just have a conversation about the topic. 

The other event we do is called Campus Couches. We pick a topic like we do in the TableTalks before the event and we table in a busy area on campus, usually Marsh Plaza, with a couch. We invite people to relax on the couch and talk about the topic on hand. We also usually have a treat to entice people to stop by and also flyers with information about the topic."

Image Credit: Hannah Goodman

Has being a leader for Table Talk taught you anything?

"It has taught me that you have to work hard to make ideas a reality. My team and I have worked so incredibly hard to get our name out to the student population. We are always so excited when people come to our events. It is really hard to start something that no one has heard of and I learned to look at the possible outcomes more realistically. I always hope to have a huge turnout at all of our events, but in reality, it means a lot to even have ten people show up."  

Do you have any goals for the organization’s future?

"My goal is that this club continues to grow. I want it to be huge on campus because I think it is so important to have these sometimes difficult conversations in our community. This club allows everyone to have a voice and to share their side of the story." 

Check out BU TableTalk on Instagram @butabletalk or email them at [email protected] to get involved. 

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