Penn Badgley and Dr. Nura Mowzoon visit campus for their new “Can We Talk?” discourse series

By Amanda Brennan

Journalists Amanda Brennan and Maddy Chemers had the chance to sit down with Badgley and Mowzoon before their event at Foellinger Auditorium last Thursday

Last Thursday, Penn Badgley and Dr. Nura Mowzoon visited campus for their new “Can We Talk?” discourse series, hosted by Organic Oneness, a grassroots and social justice registered student organization (RSO) that aims to create and build dialogue about social issues on campus. 

Penn Badgley brings experience from the entertainment industry, best known for his roles in “Gossip Girl” and “You.” Dr. Nura Mowzoon, a relationship coach and Arizona State University professor, brings a high level of expertise from working with students and clients. 

Although the two have very different backgrounds, they both strive to understand the founding principles of meaningful conversation. “All people need to be contributing their perspectives to what is needed for the betterment of the world and social transformation,” Badgley said. 

They both stressed the importance of improving relationships with those you are closest with, either romantically or not. “If you can improve relationships at that level, the better we will be as a society,” Mowzoon added. 

Students who packed into Foellinger Auditorium had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the two on stage. One student asked for advice about being attentive in relationships. Mowzoon stressed that it takes a lot of practice to truly be “in the moment.”  

“Make time to show up for your closest people and be intentional about it. Knowing how critical it is to show up is the most important. Then, it becomes more natural. The biggest cause of relationships falling apart is because people stop putting in effort. Things fall apart if we don’t build them up. Remember your intentions and think about obstacles that may be in the way,” Mowzoon explained. 

By the end of the night, Badgley and Mowzoon hoped students would walk away feeling encouraged. “In the spirit of the age we live in, people are feeling more and more hopelessness and I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s necessary to all feel encouraged, that’s what’s going to get us forward,” Badgley said. 

This was just the beginning of their tour. They plan to visit other college campuses to continue growing the discussion and conversation. You can follow their journey and continue learning about the power of conversation on Instagram, @canwetalkseries.


Amanda Brennan

Digital Reporter for Good Morning Illini and UI7 News. Amanda also serves as the President for the University of Illinois chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is a photographer with the Illini Union Marketing Department. You can find Amanda in the Marching Illini Color Guard during the football season. Go Illini!