C of I Advocates group hosts BIG TALK event

The College of Idaho Advocates kicked off the month of March with one of their biggest events of the year. With the help of a simple card game, the Advocates facilitated an evening aimed at helping students have more fulfilling conversations on campus.

“When I first heard about [BIG TALK], I immediately wanted to bring it to The College of Idaho,” said Angel Yebra, student director of the Advocate Center. “I thought it was something we could do with such an intimate community that could have a ripple effect.”

The C of I BIG TALK event was not a solitary occurrence. It is part of a larger social movement, originally started two years ago by Kalina Silverman, an undergraduate at Westminster College. Silverman’s main goal was to help people move past small talk and start more meaningful conversations with others as a way of making connections.

The College of Idaho’s BIG TALK event was largely facilitated by the BIG TALK card game, which includes 90 cards with unique question prompts to get people talking. The deck includes questions like “What do you fight for?” and Wwhat is the best compliment you have ever gotten?” The questions are designed to be answerable by almost everyone, but also allow for a variety of answers and insight into individual lives. Along with the card game to facilitate discussion, C of I debate coach Kyle Cheesewright served as a guest speaker.

“The idea of BIG TALK is about dodging predictable conversations,” Cheesewright said. “Storytelling is one of the basic things that makes us human. We tell stories about ourselves and our communities, and that’s how we make sense of the world.”

The advocates handed out free shirts to attending students with the statement “Let’s Skip the Small Talk” on them. The purpose of these shirts, according to Yebra, was to inspire additional students to get involved with the movement. The group also held a raffle to give away one copy of the BIG TALK card game. At the end of the event, students were asked to write their own BIG TALK questions to have the chance to participate in a short video.

Due to the open, close-knit culture of The College of Idaho campus, it seems likely that the College could see another BIG TALK event in the future.

“There’s nothing people love more than getting to share different perspectives,” Yebra said. “I want to give people a platform to teach [each other] something.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit

By Shannon Heller, C of I Student Reporter