An Island of Calm in the Sea of Chaos: The Peace Place

A look inside the Peace Place. (Photo by Henry Wolski)

In the heart of Sinclair’s Dayton campus lies a space that offers relief from the hectic stress and hurry of college life caused by term papers, tests, projects and homework.

This is the Peace Place, located in Building 10, Room 442. It is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. during weekdays and provides a welcoming and comforting atmosphere for students, faculty and other members of the community.

Within the space, visitors can find comfortable seating, soothing music, soft lighting, aromatherapy and the gurgling of a small waterfall. A small screened-off area allows for discreet personal prayer or meditation time. In addition, visitors will find a box stocked with individual blessing bags filled with items such as snacks, toiletries and a pair of socks. These are free to anyone who desires one.

The area is overseen by Nora Stanger, Coordinator of Appalachian Outreach and the College for Lifelong Learning, and Larry Lindstrom, Multifaith Campus Chaplain and LGBTQ+ Support Liaison.

The brainchild of Dawayne Kirkman, former director of Student Affairs, and Scott Markland, Senior Vice President for Student Development, the Peace Place was established in Fall 2019 as part of the remodeling of Building 10.

“Dawayne had the vision that there ought to be a place where people could just gather and it would be a place that would embody the commitment to inclusion and equity,” Lindstrom said.

“I think that everyone needs to take a mental break from time to time, and get grounded,” Kylee Pauley, a student ambassador working at the Peace Place, said. “…and I think this being a multifaith center gives us a lot of great opportunities. We also have a Catholic youth minister who comes in on Tuesdays and talks to students with any questions on their faith.”

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Lindstrom cites the various kinds of visitors that found the Peace Place, including small study groups, entire classes, task forces and a local bible study group, though it still remains a mystery to some students.

“We see a lot of curiosity as people go up and down the hall, they look in and do a double-take and they say ‘What is that?’” Lindstrom said. “From what I’ve seen, some folks will stop in and just kinda go ‘Is this ok for me to be in’ or ‘What is this exactly?’”

The area is prime real estate for foot traffic, as it is nestled between the offices for veteran services, Appalachian Outreach, accessibility services and the counseling office. After two open houses held at the start of the past two semesters, Stanger anticipates awareness and turnout of the Peace Place to increase.

“The response has been overwhelmingly great,” Pauley said. “A lot of people come in and automatically feel relaxed… it’s also great that we’re right by the counseling office, people are coming out of their counseling appointments or getting ready for it, and they need to chill out, they can come here.”

The message of the Peace Place is summed up by the sign on the door that greets visitors upon entry: 

“We welcome all sizes, all colors, all cultures, all sexes, all beliefs, all religions, all ages, all types and all people.”

Advice on what the best environment is to study in. (YouTube/Tom Miller)

The space remains a lesser-known resource on campus that promises the Sinclair faithful an area of rest, refreshment and renewal in the midst of the hustle and bustle of college life.

“Life is stressful all on its own, but when you add school and all the complications that go along with it, like getting homework done, asking yourself ‘did I pass the test, am I gonna pass this year…’ when you put all these stressors together, sometimes you just need time to chill,” Stanger said.

“I’ve caught a couple of people – both faculty and students – taking naps in there, just because they’ve got long days, they’re exhausted, they’re stressed, and that’s a nice quiet place to be,” Stanger said.

Henry Wolski
Staff Writer

Nora Stanger
Contributing Writer

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