Indianapolis Peace Institute
to end its programs
The Board of Directors of Indianapolis Peace Institute, the 6-year-old inner-city collaboration of Indiana’s three historic peace colleges, announced that the Institute will discontinue its on-site student programming as of March 31. The economic downturn has put an unbearable burden on the nonprofit project of Earlham, Goshen and Manchester colleges.
“The Institute provided a truly innovative urban service learning opportunity for students to discover the joy, challenge and blessing of peace-building in its many variations,” said Goshen College President Jim Brenneman.
Nearly 100 Indianapolis organizations have benefitted from the service learning of Institute students, said Kim Overdyck, executive director. “Our students have contributed almost 22,200 volunteer hours to community organizations, but the contributions they make once they leave our program to start their real work is immeasurable.
The Board of Directors has placed its 6,500-square-foot, four-level historic structure in the Old Northside neighborhood of Indianapolis on the market.
The Institute (formerly Indianapolis Peace House) opened in 2004. Generous funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. supported peace studies initiatives on the three campuses as well as creation of the Institute.Said Jo Young Switzer, president of Manchester College: “We are very grateful for the leadership Kim Overdyck has provided to the Institute for the past three years and regret that economic pressures shortened the amount of time the Institute had to build enrollments to sustain its programs.”
The Institute engaged college students and community members in peacebuilding, focusing on direct and structural violence while incorporating service learning, particularly in urban issues. The students learned how to transfer peacebuilding skills to their own disciplines and gained skills in leadership and conflict resolution, said Overdyck. Students lived in the Peace House during semester, summer and other school breaks.
“I see our legacy as the life-changing experiences of our students during their time in the Indianapolis community,” said Overdyck. “Students will carry the knowledge and lessons learned into future interactions in their own communities, abroad and in their workplaces.” Dick Hamilton, board member and community leader, noted: “Nothing ventured in the quest for peace should be consider a lost investment.”
For more about Indianapolis Peace Institute, visit the website at www.indianapolispeaceinstitute.org.