A tradition of healing begins at Hesston College

photo - Meg Beyer, senior and member of the Title IX Implementation Group addresses campus at the Healing Circle dedication.

One year after a peaceful student walk-out on campus, Hesston College took additional steps to correct past wrongs in Title IX dealings with the first Unity Day on Monday, December 4.

“The timing of this event was chosen to mark the one-year anniversary of the peaceful student protest held last year in which students bravely shared their experiences with the college’s Title IX program,” explains Whitney Douglas, Hesston’s Title IX coordinator and Title IX Implementation Group chair. “We now want to honor the work of our students whose activism and passion drew attention to problems with the college’s Title IX program and pushed for authentic and sustainable change.”

The highlight of the inaugural event was the dedication of the Healing Circle located on the east side of Alliman Administration Center. It is the work of the Title IX Implementation Group that spearheaded this effort and made it a priority to hold this dedication during the college’s regularly scheduled Formation time to allow more students and employees the ability to attend.

Meg Beyer, a senior in the Hesston College business management program, was one of the leaders of the peaceful protest in the fall semester of 2022. Now as a member of the Title IX Implementation Group, Beyer takes pride in what the group was able to accomplish.

“I think Unity Day went well for it being our first one,” said Beyer. “It made me feel like the work we put into the demands we wrote and the walkout as a whole wasn’t for nothing. We actually did something that is making a difference on this campus.”

“There is a tangibly different feeling on campus this year and that is due to the vast efforts of the Title IX Implementation Group and countless others,” says Douglas. “We have begun to roll out a robust and holistic wellness program that promotes healthy relationships, teaches about boundaries and consent and encourages individual growth and healing emotionally, physically and spiritually.”

As part of Unity Day, the first of what coordinators plan to make an annual event, students and employees of Hesston College were also encouraged to attend workshops throughout the day. These included When Spirituality and Trauma Collide, presented by Karen Bartlett, author of “When Spirituality and Trauma Collide: A Guidebook for Practitioners of Soul Care;” Resilience in the Face of Adversity, with Jose Gloria, campus counselor; and Bystander Intervention Training, offered by Douglas.

The overall goal of Unity Day this year, and in years to follow, is to encourage collaboration and unity while celebrating the diversity of the Hesston College community. The desire of the Title IX Implementation Group is to accomplish this initiative annually by engaging in topics around social issues relevant to the Hesston College campus and the surrounding culture.

Though this is Beyer’s final year as a student, she has high hopes for the future of Unity Day and the Hesston College campus community.

“I hope we are able to cover more hot-button topics that are either happening on campus or in society with honesty and respect, making sure all feel represented and heard,” said Beyer.