A new community-based civic space for deep and substantive conversations among students, faculty, and staff to ensure that the Institute’s ongoing values initiative accurately represents the thoughts, concerns, and aspirations of the entire MIT community. 

Photo by Gretchen Ertl


The MIT Values Statement recognizes that values are lived, aspirational, and at times in tension. For MIT to live into these values, we require ongoing opportunities for all members of the community to speak and be heard. RealTalk@MIT is a space for our community to do this through nuanced and authentic dialogue.


Through participation in small, virtual, facilitated dialogues that will be recorded, community members will have the opportunity to share their diverse lived experiences at MIT, hear the stories of others, and reflect on the connections, tensions, and commonalities that emerge. A team of MIT students, staff, and faculty will identify themes and patterns that emerge from conversation recordings and share findings back to the entire MIT community. 

Conversation recordings will be stored in a privacy-preserving “community voice trust” and their use will be governed by transparent data-sharing and access policies. All members of the community will be able to explore a curated online collection of stories shared by others. Groups will organize conversations and designate someone in the group its “trustee.” The trustees, with the interests of the individual participants in mind, will then decide which conversations are shared more broadly.


RealTalk@MIT is being led by the Institute’s newly formed Center for Constructive Communication (CCC), with support from the MIT Values Committee and the Institute Community & Equity Office (ICEO). CCC developed its underlying social dialogue network platform in cooperation with its nonprofit collaborator Cortico. It builds on Real Talk for Change (RTFC), initiated in 2021 to convene a series of facilitated conversations throughout Boston to connect some of the city’s least-heard citizens with decision makers – and with each other – in a scalable way.


For more information on RealTalk@MIT please contact