I was pleased to see that part of the way Virginia Tech is planning to use Norris Hall, site of the horrible violence on April 16, 2007, was to create a new Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention. According to the University's news release, the Center is "to become a world-class model combining rigorous research with hands-on engagement." The adopted proposal further states:
The Center for Violence Prevention and Peace Studies will celebrate and encourage the intellectual and emotional maturity of the students here at Virginia Tech by facilitating student-led, interdisciplinary, team-based research to enact leadership for social change at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Drawing upon skills and expertise of faculty mentors from across the university and across disciplines, the CVPPS will join the applied sciences to the humanities and intellectual pursuits to global and community service through the lenses of violence prevention and the study of peace to address such complex phenomena as historical and cultural awareness, cross-cultural communication, diversity in all its guises, socio-economic disparities, public health and safety, mental illness, economic and environmental sustainability, histories of human violence, conflict prevention, and nonviolent solutions to conflict.
Our society devotes obscene amounts of resources to developing and preparing to use means of violence. We devote far too little attention to studying how to prevent violence and how to resolve conflicts through nonviolent means. I am grateful that Virginia Tech is going to devote more attention to these critical matters as part of a constructive response to the tragedy suffered at that campus.