Get Rid of the Stigma Around Conflict

Housing & Community Student Conduct
January 10, 2019

Talking through conflict is difficult for many people. A new program developed at Denison aims to help students learn and practice techniques to help them resolve issues.

In “Punch Out the Stigma” participants respond to trivia questions related to conflict resolution topics. The content is designed to educate students about conflict using trivia and practice scenarios. When students answer a question correctly, they can “punch” through an opening and claim the hidden prize on the other side. Prizes are a mixture of Denison-themed items and items related to wellness. Learning about conflict resolution helps students during their time on-campus and post-graduation. The program can travel to events and meetings around the campus.

“Conflict is an inevitable part of life,” says Associate Dean of Students Léna Crain. “Understanding productive ways to resolve conflict, as well as how the University addresses conflict, is important information for students to be successful on campus and beyond.”

Denison community coordinator Doug Lisko developed Punch Out the Stigma. “It is a fun, interactive way to share this message and our work - and students enthusiastically participate,” added Crain.

Punch Out the Stigma invites students to engage in dialogue about conflicts. Participants also learn about the resources available to them at Denison to assist them in working through conflict, such as mediators, restorative justice processes, community advisors, and Office of Community Values & Conflict Resolution (OCVCR) staff members.

“Students are excited to learn more about conflict resolution strategies and win prizes,” says one community advisor. “Bringing this program to places like the student union and the residence halls, we can work together to connect with students that may be too busy to go to the OCVCR.”

Crain notes, “Students don’t always view OCVCR as a resource or educational tool. This program changes that perception and makes the learning accessible and fun.”

Community advisors (CA) are specifically trained in conflict resolution to help residents navigate roommate conflict. They also encourage their residents to take ownership over their conflicts and implement their conflict resolution skills, and host Punch Out the Stigma events to help students develop these skills.

“In OCVCR we consciously work to create an environment where students feel comfortable working through conflict, rather than avoiding it,” says Lisko. “This is just one of many educational outreach opportunities we provide.”

“Conflict and response are normal, healthy experiences of living and learning in community,” says the OCVCR mission statement. The OCVCR promotes dialogue around conflict, and “help our community to develop skills and address conflict peacefully.”

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