The Restorative Response Group (RRG) is a short-term working group that was appointed by President Bradley to support the college in navigating the impact the Middle East war is having on campus.
Read the email from the Restorative Response Group regarding the Middle East War.
What is a listening circle, and why create them in response to the war in the Middle East?
One of many forms of restorative circles, a listening circle is a space for people who have experienced something together or at the same time to communicate about that experience with one another. These circles are specifically designed for people at Vassar who are grieving the loss of life and want to process the current state of affairs by connecting with one another.
Who should attend a listening circle?
Circles are completely optional and run through mutual consent. They convened among affinity groups as well as among people who share concerns about a particular topic alongside diverging views or experiences. The structure of the circle provides a space to listen and share deeply, without cross-talk or debate (better fit for a different context). No one is required to come to a circle, and participants are welcome to depart at any time.
How are listening circles different from group therapy or conflict resolution?
While listening circles are supportive and involve a degree of vulnerability, they are not a form of group therapy. They are not a place to share the details of traumatic experiences which may risk activating or re-activating oneself or others. Listening circles are a place in which we practice building community by expressing ourselves and paying attention to one another in an intentional way. (If you feel you need additional support in processing your experiences at this time, we urge you to make use of additional wellness resources on campus). To find out more about conflict resolution, email RP Director Amanda Munroe: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I continue to learn about restorative practices?
Check out Vassar’s RP Resource Guide or email email@example.com. You can also sign up for the “Restorative Practices Practice Group,” a gathering of Vassar community members who meet weekly to engage in a community-building circle together.
I have heard about the Native and Indigenous roots of circle practice. Can you tell me more?
Conversing and sitting in a circle is a practice that has historical roots across human kind. Circle processes practiced today are shared with non-Native people by Native and Indigenous communities whose Nations and homelands span North America, Oceania, and Eastern Africa as a community-based and community-held process. The Restorative Practices office at Vassar is committed to listening to, learning from, working with, and honoring Native and Indigenous Peoples. Vassar works to resist the continued violence of settler colonialism by ethical, non-appropriative engagement with Circle Practice.
We are always seeking your input on our work.