Juniata has recently adopted a new program as a part of the Beyond Tolerance Series, in the form of the P.E.A.C.E. certificate. Grace Fala, professor of communication and interim director of the office of Diversity and Inclusion, speaks about the program.
Q: What does P.E.A.C.E. stand for?
A: It’s called Participating in Educational Activities that Create Equality.
Years ago we had an international certificate, where if students studied abroad they could earn a certificate from Juniata. I thought “couldn’t we do something like that for diversity?” As I thought about the certificate I kept seeing this blue dove, and I thought the dove is for peace, and I thought let’s not just have this for justice and diversity, but let’s have this for peace, and so and the acronym just came to me.
Q: How was the program started?
A: I was wondering what we could do to get more people to attend and participate, and I remembered that study abroad certificate from years ago, and I thought let’s make a peace certificate. I talked to President Kepple and he really liked the idea. This helps us to ask people to register for the events, so we can follow who is participating.
Q: How do you earn the certificate?
A: If you attend any six of the Beyond Tolerance programs, you can earn the bronze. If you attend 12, you can earn the silver, or you can earn the gold by attending 18. Then there’s something called the Peace Pass, for people who are not members of the Juniata community who want to attend. They can buy a pass for$50 and attend as many as they like.
Q: What is the ultimate point of the certificate? How will it benefit those who receive it?
A: First of all it awakens the consciousness. You will hopefully become more compassionate about people you perceive to be different from you. The goal is to involve more people in the sharing and strengthening of empathy. We’re becoming much more of a global society, so we want to awaken global awareness and become more compassionate and empathetic. Second is that in the Juniata community, we want to become more aware of diverse populations. The program strengthens our community so we may value diversity. Third, the certificate is another accolade to earn. Not only do you have a college degree, but you have a P.E.A.C.E certificate. Someday when you go for job, you’re going to have a degree, but hopefully you’ll also have a P.E.A.C.E. certificate to show that you are attentive to diversity.
Q: How has the P.E.A.C.E. certificate changed the Beyond Tolerance program?
A: It’s been so far well received. For example, 105 people attended our first event. Our second event is this Wednesday, and we already have over 100 people registered.
I am trying to diversify the Beyond Tolerance program so that all people at some point feel that their voice and their vision is represented. I don’t want it to be about race only, or sexual orientation only, or culture only. I want it to also be about interfaith religions. I want it to be about abilities. I want all people on campus to feel that they are represented or welcomed and so by adding the P.E.A.C.E. certificate and getting everybody to participate, everybody feels that they have a part; that this is our community and we’re all in this together.
Kelsey Molseed ’14, Juniata Online Journalist