Peacebuilding workshops aim to help students strengthen interpersonal relationships
Written by
J. Eston Dunn
Students review tactics for conflict resolution.
Image By
Ho Yin Li


Peacebuilding seniors, Sarah Coles from California and Bailee Rasmussen from Kauai, hosted a specialty workshop and explained the first step to building better relationships is recognizing the expectations we place on each other.

The workshop, sponsored by BYUH Housing, was held on the evening of Feb. 21 in the lobby of Hale 1. Hale residents were invited to attend the specialty workshop on building relationships amongst roommates. Students who attended the session also received a $10 voucher to dismiss any housing fine received.

Peace in the home

Coles recalled a discussion about perspective with a fellow student who told her, “‘Just be respectful,’ but what does that mean? Your way of being respectful is not another person’s. We have this idea and we don’t even realize that we are putting these expectations on people.

“We call each other crazy, but really it’s just how we see it, we need to be empathic to other people and that starts with understanding how we view the world.

“This is a very minimal part of our curriculum,” Coles explained when speaking about the workshop.

 Rasmussen elaborated, “Recently we’ve been able to work with Housing to teach skills that are hopefully making big differences in roommate relationship and marriage relationships in TVA.” 

Otgon Badrakh, a sophomore accounting major from Mongolia who attended the workshop, said she learned how important it is to “build more positive communication with your roommates, so I have to communicate widely, openly, and positively”

Housing and Arbinger

Coles shared the idea for the workshop came from Hannah B. Singer, who is in charge of all the housing facilities. She explained how she and Singer worked together in a birth class when Singer noticed Cole was involved in a lot of conflict management.

Coles said Singer told her, “We need more of [these workshops] in our hales,” and asked Coles and Rasmussen to do an Arbinger night once a month.

“Arbinger is a company based out of Utah, [which] works mostly for businesses, teaching interpersonal conflict resolutions in businesses which reduce cost. But on campus, we have a little nudge because Chad Ford, our director, has connections [with Arbringer],” shared Coles.

Rasmussen continued about the importance of conflict resolution, “And especially here since we’re so incredibly diverse and multicultural, I hope that we can… make a difference.”

Rasmussen explained the need for relationship-building courses. “There are a lot of dynamics in Hawaii, especially with the recent history of colonization, that’s all really raw, and there are completely different dynamics on campus that enlarge it.

“Being on your own and coming into a foreign place and your differences are put up [against] someone else in stark contrast it can be really hard.”

For anyone interested in conflict resolution, Rasmussen and Coles recommended their Peace in the Home course with a focus on bringing meditation to the hales and TVA to help resolve [any] conflict.

All those interested should or contact the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding for more information.


Date Published
February 25, 2019
Last Edited
April 23, 2019