Students embrace restorative justice with one-of-a-kind club

November 17, 2014

Approximately 80 students across all faculties have joined the fledgling Restorative Justice (RJ) Club at Simon Fraser University, the first in Canada to be community-born and led by students.

“Many students are enticed by the intrinsic nature of restorative justice,” says co-founder Christina Ma, a third-year economics student. “For example, the importance of story-telling and the power of telling our own story.

“Restorative justice values such as respect, responsibility and relationship, compassion, courage, and connection, appeal to students in all faculties.”

Ma says the club wants to create conflict mechanisms based on restorative justice that can be used to help resolve conflict in the SFU community.

“It’s the first time this is being done at a post-secondary institution in Canada.”

In February this year, the club collaborated with an external organization, Through Our Eyes, to create three reconciliation workshops, two of which were hosted by Reconciliation Canada.

“They taught us how to engage on sensitive topics, and about values-based leadership,” says Ma.

Attendees included club members as well SFU Residence and Housing staffers and student leaders.

“Our partnership with SFU Residence and Housing is a reflection of one of our major goals—building community through a shared understanding, a shared resilience and a shared tomorrow,” says Ma.

The club has just learned it will receive an SFU Community Engagement grant to host and facilitate a Shaking Movers conference in Metro Vancouver next year. The conference prepares children and youth to develop comments and recommendations on children's rights, which they can then submit to government and other organizations.

For more about restorative justice at SFU:

SFU is celebrating Restorative Justice Week with a new course: Restorative Justice in Educational Settings.

Read about how SFU’s RJ Certificate grads are transforming their communities.