Peace Studies Senior Reflection
Julia Largent ‘11
Join the Peace Studies Institute and you will learn about peacemakers, travel to exotic lands, and learn and take part in changing the world! Yeah, that sounds awesome! That is what I’ve done over the past four years at MU, and I have loved every minute of it. MU has provided me with so many opportunities, some I have taken, and others I have regretfully not been able to take. These experiences range from traveling to different intentional communities, to traveling by the Southshore train from South Bend to Chicago for my first-ever protest; sit on couches at the Brown’s house, eat popcorn, drink coffee/tea, and discuss current events and other social justice topics. But, let’s not forget classes. The literature was intriguing, the movies were captivating, and the discussions were insightful, and I loved every minute of it.
I will never forget this past year’s Jan Term trip. Myself, 10 other students, the Peace Intern [Sam Carwile] and Katy Gray Brown took a tour of intentional communities throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, and Georgia. It was so neat to experience the different Utopian experiments, as well as get to know others within the major, make new memories, and be inspired to live like so many of these folks do. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint my favorite community from the trip, each place had something different that I loved about it. I loved Bill and Sue at Little Flower, which was a small Catholic Worker Farm in Virginia. It was inspiring to hear their stories about various Plowshares actions they had taken part of. At some of the other communities it was inspiring to see and hear how they lived-sustainable, local, etc. I loved the land and mission of that of Jubilee Partners in Georgia. It was neat to hear about the services they offer refugees, and it is a shame to know that there are no other communities that strive for the same mission. This trip is definitely one of my favorite memories of Manchester, and is one that will never be forgotten--the memories, the food, and the jokes.
What would a reflection about PSI be without trips to protests, particularly to Fort Benning, Georgia to the School Of Americas protest. Going 3 out of 4 years, it is safe to say that this protest and vigil is one that impacted me throughout my time. Every year that I went, the vigil meant more to me. Not only was it a time to protest the School, but it was also a time to learn about other issues--from the street rally to the conference sessions. It was a time to bond with other majors and folks that are interested and learn many new things. This is a trip that I will miss every fall. I hope that wherever my life takes me that I can continue to participate in this action.
Kenapocomoco Coalition: probably the number one thing that I will miss. The popcorn, the homemade bread, the snacks, coffee/tea...not to mention conversations about pressing matters with folks who are amazing. Viona and Ken are such an inspiration and I have loved spending an hour every Monday night at their house on a weekly basis. I loved getting to know them over the last few years and was deeply saddened with Ken’s passing last semester. When Ken passed away, I realized how much I cared for not only him, but what he had taught me over the years. The SOA protest this year was one of the best years I have attended. My Jan Term trip inspired me to live simpler and off of the land. The students within the program are so inspiring and push me to do better with my life and I feel that no other program here does exactly that. Peace Studies is not just an institute to me, it’s a family.
The Graduation Pledge Alliance, or GPA, is a pledge that I am grateful for. It’s really neat that Manchester pushes this pledge. The idea that one should consider the social and environmental aspects of a job should be a no-brainer.
I have plans for the future, but who knows where life is actually going to take me. I plan on attending Ball State University in the Fall to pursue my Masters of Arts in Digital Storytelling [video production]. I hope to one day use my passion for social justice and my passion for video editing and produce documentaries about issues of today. I hope to stay involved with peace issues and continue to speak out against those issues that need to be spoken of. I hope to stay connected with PSI and all those that I have met during my time here. If you have in any way impacted my time as a young peace studies major, I thank you.