Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler At approximately 6:45 p.m. March 29, a loud argument attracted attention on the blue side of Murray-Aikins dining hall during the dinner rush. The argument was later revealed to be a staged street theater demonstration by the colleges mediation group, Fight Club.
The demonstration began with two members — Chris Lord '12 and Leanne Dwyer '13 — posing as a couple and pretending to have an argument regarding Dwyer's weekend plans.
Dwyer said she wanted to visit a friend at another college, and Lord, acting as her boyfriend, said he would rather she stay on campus because they had not spent much time together recently.
"In mediation terms there is always a topic — which in this case was the weekend plans — and each person has a need. My need was for independence, while Chris' needs were recognition and to be desired in the relationship," Dwyer said.
A Dining Services manager attempting to make the couple leave briefly interrupted the demonstration, but other Fight Club members in The Dining Hall quietly made the manager aware that it was a demonstration.
As the argument escalated a third Fight Club Liaison, Natalie Petrillo-Alvarez ‘11, stepped between Dwyer and Lord and demonstrated the methods of mediation that Fight Club teaches during weekly meetings.
Petrillo-Alvarez asked the couple to speak calmly and identify exactly what each wanted from the other, rather than getting frustrated and yelling. However, group members and students in the dining hall reported not being able to clearly hear Petrillo-Alvarez's mediation because of background noise in the dining hall.
Even though not many people could hear Petrillo-Alvarez's mediation, Dwyer said she still felt the demonstration was successful.
"What Fight Club has been trying to do lately has been to make ourselves more visible on campus so students start recognizing us as a resource … Once this is accomplished then we actually start to inform students about the real process of mediation." Dwyer said.
"Right now Fight Club and conflict resolution is kind of a new thing. We're just trying to attract attention. We may try to do this again in a different place on campus and improve upon the logistics — hopefully not get interrupted," Petrillo-Alvarez said.
According to club co-president Nick Hara '11 the event was partially inspired by Duke Fisher, a professional mediator who works with Residential Life and Leadership Activities. Fisher organized a mock draft in the dining hall on Jan. 31 as part of the Theater of War in a House of Peace performance series.
"A couple of us participated in the Theater of War demonstration and we saw that sort of street theater as a good way to get the message out. The dining hall is a good way to get the message out to underclassmen who can become involved and further the future of the group."
Fight Club will be hosting a "Fight Week" from April 18-22. The week will feature several events hosted by the club to promote conflict resolution, but an exact itinerary has not yet been announced yet.
Fight Club meets on Mondays at 9 p.m. in the Saratoga Room.