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The RJ Student Leaders Program

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. 

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please watch our video!

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.

RJSLs  bring Restorative practices and conflict resolution to their communities in:

    • Dorms and coops
    • theme floors
    • sororities and fraternities
    • student government
    • classrooms

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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. 

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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.

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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.

Circles on Issues: the elections, social media harm, hate speech, and more

We’ve also developed and piloted a variety of circles to give students a chance to talk to each other about issues that are on their minds and in their hearts.

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Outcomes for Restorative Justice Student Leaders:

  • Development of skills in RP and RJ that are immediately applicable in personal lives and improve community relationships.
  • Opportunity to act as peacebuilders and peacemakers within their communities and across communities.
  • Chance to engage and develop relationships with Bay Area leaders of the national RJ movement.
  • Attainment of “soft skills” and research skills that can lead to careers in a growing RJ field and many fields.