During the Fall quarter, unity proved to be the central theme guiding the Conflict Resolution Graduate Students Association (CRGSA) and the Society for Conflict Resolution (SCORE). The SCORE board and the CRGSA board decided to unify their efforts in the hope of being able to better reach the student population, as well as community members.
Our first joint initiative focused on the new student orientation in September. While both organizations presented information at the faculty-led new student orientation, SCORE and CRGSA wanted to do more to connect with the new conflict resolution class. We developed an additional student-led orientation session to open the lines of communication between incoming students and current students, to share our experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations in the hope of paving the road for a smooth transition and their future success in the program. The orientation was a great success and will become an official part of new student orientation activities.
Following the success of our first joint SCORE-CRGSA venture, officers of the two organizations were motivated to make this union official and long-lasting. Our next initiative became the merger of the SCORE and CRGSA Boards. Considering the small size of the Conflict Resolution student body and the speed at which students were finishing the program, it was evident that forming two student Boards each to serve only a year term was unrealistic. For this reason, as well as to increase student unity within the program, SCORE and CRGSA reformed the organizations' constitutions to make CRGSA the central Conflict Resolution student organization from within which SCORE (in name only) would continue to serve student and community members. This merger passed with a unanimous vote at our open student meeting in October and will officially be enacted with the election of the new 2007 CRGSA board.
During the Fall quarter, our central event focused on International Conflict Resolution Day—October 19th, 2006. This day of recognition and celebration of the conflict resolution field was established by the Association for Conflict Resolution. Our goal was to bring together the Conflict Resolution Institute students, the University of Denver community, and the general public to talk about conflict resolution and its vast and significant role both locally and internationally. Working with several prominent conflict resolution practitioners from the Denver area, creating the 2006 Colorado International Conflict Resolution Day Committee, CRGSA-SCORE coordinated a dynamic panel discussion. The topic for this discussion was "The Reality of Conflict: When Does Push Come to Shove", addressing the complex and diverse nature of conflict and conflict resolution in personal, private, and international arenas. The panelists consisted of highly respected and experienced practitioners all connected to the Conflict Resolution Institute: Melodye Feldman—
Executive Director of Seeking Common Ground, Patricia Whitehouse— KUSA/KTVD Human Resources Manager and University of Denver Conflict Resolution graduate, Grace Sage—US Department of Justice Conciliation Specialist, and Akbarali
Thobhani—Metro State African and Middle Eastern Studies Professor. Our celebration served to be an intellectual and insightful discussion, a successful event we look forward to repeating next year.
In our final days as SCORE and CRGSA Board members, before we regretfully yet enthusiastically pass on the torch, we will be hosting the Fall end of the quarter social. Finally, in our last unifying effort, CRGSA and SCORE have had Conflict Resolution tee shirts made for all current students, a gift from us to the CRI student body. It is our hope that these shirts will represent our shared passion and future work in conflict resolution, as well as the importance of working together and maintaining a sense of humor
- Mikaela Ladwig-Williams, CRGSAPresident