About

Mission

The Peace Center works to educate and empower students by providing the tools, knowledge and space necessary for mobilizing around issues of justice and peace and creating effective and positive changes in our community and on our campus. By acting in solidarity on a local level, we hope to contribute to the achievement of social, environmental and economical justice worldwide.

History of Peace Center

The Peace Center has its roots with the Swords into Plowshares movement of the 50’s. There was a United Methodist pastor that went to Wesley Foundations around the state starting up peace centers on university campuses. With the decline of the movement the WMU Peace Center shut down. During the 80’s anti nuclear movement it started up again, but as the Berlin wall fell and the movement lost momentum and the Center again closed its doors. In the early oughts a group of students came together and presented the Wesley Foundation with a new plan to jump start the Peace Center.  Leadership, structure and activities have changed over the past decade, though since its rebirth the Center has provided WMU students with opportunities to take lead roles in social change.

Organizational Structure

The Peace Center strives to be as horizontal in its decision making process as possible. While we are not an egalitarian organization in structure we are working towards the creation of an egalitarian society. Every member decides their level of participation and thus qualifies their own amount of say in operation. Historically the board of directors has had the authority to hire the director. The director then oversees day-to-day operations of the organization. The director then makes the call on which work-study students to hire. The board, director, nor the work-study students, have any official power to determine who is part of the collective voluntarily but like any organization their attitudes can influence this. While this has past been the structure, there is currently discussion of changing the official method to fit the actual practice which has involved the existing collectives say in new hiring and direction of programming.

Our Elevator Speech

The Peace Center is the hub for progressive activities at WMU. We are a student group incubator and community center. We organize lectures, film screenings, concerts, open forums and other events that bring together diverse ideas and provide a space for discourse and political development. We’re located in the center of campus, and we are part student group, part non-profit and fully effective.

Organizational Culture

The Peace Center collective fits the stereotype of the college left. We’re left of democrats and well educated on a variety of issues. The organization is personal and fast paced. Everyone is on a first name basis and begins their relationship on overlapping goals. Friendship is emphasized over professionalism. Members are up to date on trends and follow national issues. People tend to be more oriented towards cultural over policy change. Actions are based locally but we keep in mind the national and international repercussions.

The primary leadership style is “Dreamer” and focused on the big picture. Our volunteers like to be involved in multiple projects and embrace their A.D.D.

Our collective is self-motivated by their desires to change societal conditions. The occasional pep talk and strategy session is welcomed but generally participants don’t require such reminders to stay motivated and active.

One thought on “About

  1. This is a description about the Peace Center by the College Republicans

    MONDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2006

    Kalamazoo Peace Center
    This week has been declared “Peace Week” by liberals on campus. So this seems like a good time to examine some of the nutty liberals on campus. Many of their efforts seem to revolve around the “Kalamazoo Peace Center,” located in the Wesley foundation on campus.

    According to their website, the Peace Center is a group of “students and others” dedicated to promoting liberalism. The center also refers to “the collective:”

    Collective

    The role of the Collective is to keep the Peace Center alive and productive.

    Members of the Collective volunteer their time to cooperatively staff the office. The Collective participates in day-to-day activities and in long-term developmental goals of the Peace Center. If you are interested in being a volunteer or joining the collective feel free to download an application, send us an email, or stop by!
    The Center was started 25 years ago as a project of the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodists, which says a lot about the decline of mainline Protestant denominations.

    In the 1980’s, it was used to promote the Nuclear Freeze movement. This movement demanded that the United States unilaterally stop building our nuclear capacities. Strangely, this was exactly what the Soviet Union wanted us to do. So what happened? Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite of what the liberals wanted. He increased military spending. The Soviet Union went bankrupt trying to keep up, was demoralized, and collapsed. Four hundred million people were freed from communist tyranny, and there was no war. Today, the peace center’s website acknowledges how wrong they were. Yes, I’m kidding.

    Their “coalition” included the “anti-nuclear Valley Alliance, Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Pushkin Institute, United Nations Association, and many faith-based groups such as the Presbyterian Church and Pax Cristi.” I’m pretty sure that the “people of El Salvador” means the communists trying to overthrow the government of El Salvador.

    Today, the Peace Center works with the Progressive Student Alliance, uniting such leftist organizations as “Students Against Sweatshops, Students’ Kalamazoo Non-violent Opponents to War, NAACP, Western’s Organization for Women and many more.”

    Then, the Progressive Student Alliance made a “daring” step–becoming the “Progressive Community Alliance.” They work with organizations such as “Beehive Collective, Global Exchange, Oxfam and other national and international organizations.” That’s the Peace Center’s “herstory.”

    As an organization championing peace, the Peace Center naturally supports banning jobs and racial discrimination. They demand a “living wage,” which would ban any jobs that pay less. Of course, they oppose the MCRI:

    The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban both discrimination and affirmative action programs. This campaign exists to bring awareness to the community on the unethical aspects of this proposal and to get citizens to VOTE NO ON PROP 2 in November.
    The Peace Center’s calendar of events includes meetings of the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network, which has provided some of the funnier moments in local politics.

    Their community and links pages provide links to plenty more crazy liberal organizations. Ugh–I need to read Ann Coulter.

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