Explorer’s Café – Exploring the thought

The question “What’s the change that you want to see in the world?” marks the beginning of the forum that’s so passionately named Explorer’s Café. Keeping up to its name and following on to the first question posed, the next two hours of the session turned out to be an unexpected and transformative experience. Explorer’s Café is a vision of two Lassonde instructors Dr. Kai Zhuang and Dr. Franz Newland towards creating spaces for discussions where you’re ready to be vulnerable and change within yourself whatsoever strikes you during the discussion. Although it’s not an official motto of the café, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” closely resonates with the café vibe. Our discussion topics comprised of a variety of topics from Change in engineering education, do grades make any sense, to racism and stereotypes. Unknowingly, all the participants learned the art of expressing themselves without altering who they are in front of a group of people and how to say extremely sensitive things in the most artful way.

The discussions normally began by showing us a provocative video to allow ourselves to loosen up a bit and not guard our truths behind the walls of humility. It was in a way a BRAVE space, where you didn’t come to debate but to explore behind the already existing beliefs that we held before entering the room. Sometimes we often ran into altercations but they were more exploratory in nature than arguments. More often than not, I refuted myself nearing the end because of the various realizations I had along the way.

The name Explorer’s Café might appear to be a bit fancy and ambitious at the beginning but after going through two hours of thought provoking discussions it becomes clearer of how realistic the name is. The discussion often ended with the question: “What’s the change that you will have to change within yourself to see that change in the world?” So, what is it about yourself that you will change.


Utkarsh Pandey

International Computer Engineering Student

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