Communication Studies professors Jeff Ringer and Roseanna Ross accepted the 2015 Spirit of Peace Award June 15 at the Minneapolis Conflict Resolution Center’s Volunteers Dinner for their work at the St. Cloud Conflict Resolution Center and community conflict resolution services.
Ringer and Ross recognized the need for alternative dispute resolution services in St. Cloud, so in 2013 they worked with the Conflict Resolution Center in Minneapolis to open the organization’s satellite office in St. Cloud, said Ona Lawrence, St. Cloud Conflict Resolution Center director.
St. Cloud State provides local support for the center by providing office space and a student worker. Students pursuing a relational conflict management minor and other students taking mediation courses get real-life experience in conflict resolution through volunteering in the community.
“You have dedicated your life and your career to deep listening, compassionate understanding and spreading the word and the work of peace in all that you do,” Director Karmit Bulman said, while presenting the award to the St. Cloud State professors. “Without you, there would be no CRC St. Cloud. Your generosity is beyond description.”
Ringer and Ross are conflict resolution teachers, mediators and conflict consultants who regularly co-mediate with less experienced mediators to help improve the St. Cloud center’s volunteer base.
Last year the St. Cloud center volunteers provided basic mediation training to 12 Somali elders and community members and hosted a training on trauma and restorative justice in St. Cloud in conjunction with the Minneapolis center.
“This was made possible because Dr. Ringer and Dr. Ross believe this work builds peaceful, healthy communities and creates opportunities for students to work in their community,” Lawrence said.
In January, the St. Cloud center began a school mediation program. Mediators now provide weekly mediation services at South Middle School and will expand those services next fall to North Middle School and some local high schools. Most of these volunteer mediators are students of Ross and Ringer, she said.
“Jeff and Roseanna are the heart and soul of the Conflict Resolution Center in St Cloud,” Lawrence said. “With their support the center will continue to expand, bringing people in our community together to find lasting and effective solutions to conflict. CRC serves those for whom traditional legal services have not worked in the past and those who cannot afford those services.”
The Spirit of Peace Award was established in 2003 in memory of community mediator Gary Moe. The award is earned annually by volunteers who exemplify the Conflict Resolution Center’s mission, vision and values through their work, contribution to the community and how they live their lives.