Community-building circles provide the opportunity to the community to engage in a collective process of storytelling. The community-building circle process is described below:
"Physically, a group sits in a circle and, with the guidance of a facilitator or "circle keeper" discusses agreed-upon topics in a manner where each person is given an opportunity to share. An object if meaning for the group (e.g., a stone, plant, a stuffed toy, etc.), usually referred to as a "talking piece" is passed from person to person around the circle to indicate who holds the space. People are invited to share, pass, or hold a time of silence when the piece comes to them. The circle, which has no beginning or end, symbolically illustrates that all present are valued as significant and that insights shared are held respectfully within the space.
A facilitator or circle keeper's role can include inviting people to attend, setting up the space, opening the time, introducing group agreements, presenting the topic, keeping the conversation focused, and closing the circle."
—Adapted from Evans and Vaandering (2016)
Restorative Practices Continuum
Embodying a participatory, egalitarian, and meaningful way to enhance and strengthen the campus community, these conversations break down barriers and in the case of problem-solving circles and subsequently offer a process for decision-making. The primary goal is to help build a positive campus climate where everyone can potentially feel heard and valued. A trained, multi-partial LMU facilitator would ask a group to determine the topic(s) ahead of time.
- Provide a safe and structured space for voluntary group conversations
- Offer a way for the group to express their concerns and generate action plans