Conflict Support Services on campus offers peer mediation for those who need assistance navigating conflict

Conflict happens. Whether it’s your roommate leaving dishes in the sink or unwanted guests in your space, conflict is entirely inevitable within our daily lives and creates a stressful living environment.

The feeling of stress is an overproduction of a hormone called “cortisol”, which causes that feeling of panic or restlessness. While stress is normal and sometimes cannot be prevented, it greatly impacts the body and overall well-being of those experiencing it.

The American Psychological Association explains that stress can impact the ability to sleep, to regulate food intake and can even cause stomach pains. Conflict between a friend or a roommate can invade the personal space of those affected, creating stress within the home.

Boise State Conflict Support Services offers a mediator for those experiencing conflict. The new service on campus is a  group of “peer mediators” trained to stand as a non-partisan party for those needing a little extra help.

Peer mediators range from undergraduate students to graduate students all studying at Boise State full-time. Their purpose is to serve as a third-party mediator to help students navigate conflict within their own lives.

“It started because there was a need for it in residential housing,” said Corinne Smearden, a junior psychology student at Boise State and peer mediator. “We have now expanded beyond on-campus students.”

Any and all Boise State students can now reach out for help regarding a personal conflict. Either through the multitude of fliers around campus or through their email,, where students can send a conflict report and be met with help by peers.

Sometimes it’s hard to find your own words and stand up for what you need. Conflict support services offer completely free advice on how to navigate these tricky situations and advice on how to prevent them in the future.

“We want to help build conflict skills, conflict is going to happen,” Smearden said. “And everything is kept private.”

After submitting a conflict report, students can expect to meet  with a response from peer mediators. Then, they can work with their mediator to discover solutions.

“We do a combination of proactive work and reactive work with students,” Smearden said. “And it’s up to the student to tell us where they want to meet.”

It is important to note that all peer mediators are also mandated reporters, meaning if they hear of policy violations such as underage drinking or drug-use, they are required to report it.

Kenna Boyer, peer mediator and graduate student at Boise State says, “We are trained to stay neutral and impartial but we are mandated reporters.”

This means if you have a fear regarding someone else’s well-being or safety, Conflict Support Services are obligated to notify those trained to help in those circumstances. Conflict Support Services are aimed towards domestic conflicts such as needing to declare boundaries with a roommate or declaring a roommate agreement.

For those who find it difficult to speak out in cases of conflict or those simply needing advice on navigating the troubles of roommates, peer mediators are willing to help and offer as much help as possible.

Reach out via email or through the dozens of QR codes around campus next time you find yourself needing help with a conflict. Advocating for yourself in times of trouble is an important function of being content and happy.

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