The first year for the RJ Center Student Leaders Program has been a great success!
UC Berkeley’s RJ Student Leaders program trains students to provide peer-to-peer training and services in restorative practices (community building and other circles) and restorative justice (responding to harm).
As they invite their fellow students to engage in restorative practice and restorative justice, RJ Student Leaders promote a different kind of leadership that emphasizes engaged listening, empathy, conflict resolution, recognition of multiple truths.
RJ Student leaders trained hundreds of students and staff and guided dozens of students through restorative processes to address harm resolve conflicts, and restore relationships.
In 2015-16, 6 students worked as RJ Student Leaders in their communities in:
Students also worked with our community partners, training, facilitating circles and doing research:
- RJOY, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth
- Berkeley High School
Community Building Circles
provide opportunities for students to tell their stories and hear each others’ stories, and experience vulnerability and empathy together. In community building circles, participants articulate shared values and agreements for communication and relationships.
Restorative Responses to Conflict and Harm
In college, conflicts and harms arise from simple miscommunications, insensitive speech, arguments over beliefs and ideologies, even harassment and bullying.
When left unaddressed, these conflicts can spin out of control, divide communities, and cause acute stress, mental, emotional and even physical harm.
RJ Student Leaders offer processes for resolving conflicts and restoring relationships and provide peers with skills and techniques to be empathic listeners, de-escalate conflicts, and develop resilience through restorative conversations.
Support and Consent Circles
We’ve collaborated with GASA (Greeks Against Sexual Assault), the ASUC (Associated Student Government) Sexual Assault Commission and Community Care Advocates to offer several support circles for people who identify as survivors. Our focus is on building community and solidarity among survivors so they can share resources and ideas for cultural change.
We’ve piloted a “consent circle” and developed a 10-module circle plan to integrate community building and discussions of consent.
Anger and Triggers Circles
We’ve also developed and piloted a variety of circles to give students a chance to talk to each other about issues around anger, how people can be triggered, and positive/transformative responses.