Because it may be impossible to avoid problems altogether with other students at college — whether it’s a roommate, coworker, or just a friend — the Student Association (SA) will be offering a conflict resolution service next semester to help ease the burden.
The service, tentatively named “The Conflict Resolution Center: Students Helping Students,” is the only peer-to-peer, confidential resolution program service on campus, according to Derek Gumb, SA executive vice president. Gumb, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, created the program, which was originally designed by former executive vice president Elizabeth Robins.
“The CRC will facilitate conflicts or issues between students, which get in the way of friendships or working relationships,” Gumb wrote in an email. “We will focus on these issues that all students encounter at some point in their college career.”
The program will be free of charge and available to all undergraduate students at Binghamton University. Students will have to make appointments via email or at the SA office.
The main goal of the program is to help students reach a compromise in their conflicts.
“Sometimes, students need an objective peer who is completely removed from the issue at stake,” Gumb said. “That peer can raise necessary questions and help the two students look at the problem or conflict in a new perspective.”
According to Gumb, there are currently four interns who will work in the CRC. Each intern underwent 10 weeks of training and are New York state certified Conflict Facilitators.
“The interns act as unbiased, neutral 3rd parties who listen to the argument or dispute between two students, and help both parties come to a mutually recognized agreement on how to solve the issue,” Gumb said.
Gumb said the program will start off small, with only two interns available for the spring 2013 and fall 2013 semesters.
“We are focusing our service on quality over quantity because we are confident that our trained interns can deliver a high-quality and professional service to any students who make use of the service,” Gumb wrote.
While the program is similar to the University Counseling Center, the CRC will not deal with issues involving violence or when a student’s safety is at risk.
Michelle Roter, a junior double-majoring in history and philosophy, politics and law, will be interning for the fall 2013 semester. Roter encouraged student to try the program, saying it can be surprisingly effective.
“I have very high hopes for this program because I feel that having students (rather than adults) oversee these conflicts will ease students’ fears of seeking help,” Roter wrote in an email. “We have seen that even if it may seem impossible to get the two parties to agree, there is almost always a compromise that can be made that is beneficial to both sides.”
James Grippe, a CRC intern for next semester and a junior majoring in computer science, said the program will become a major part of student life.
“I have always enjoyed working with people and I believe this program will develop into a ‘go to’ for students who encounter issues ranging from roommate conflicts to student group problems,” Grippe wrote in an email.
Correction: Dec. 23, 2012
An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the former Student Association Executive Vice President. It is Robins, not Robins.