Lore-ence: Boundary Workshop comes to Lawrence

The following story is satire. All events and characters are fictional.

Lawrence University has been lauded as socially progressive. Lawrentians tackle serious topics every term, and often hold forums to facilitate conversations about campus controversies. Students are known for being vocal about injustices and the changes needed to improve our community. Community Advisors (CAs) often hold different workshops to help students understand new topics that they may not be familiar with. In the same vein of these other programs, a new workshop is coming out focusing on promoting boundaries. This workshop on boundaries will embody the passion of Lawrentians who want to see positive change.  

Lawrence has hired some professional workshop leaders to facilitate the discussion. When deciding who would lead the workshop, it was decided that it would be best to avoid hiring anyone directly affiliated with Lawrence, in case anyone has ever felt that individual lacked boundaries or had crossed boundaries themself. It was also believed that setting boundaries with both familiar (fellow Lawrentians) and unfamiliar (workshop leaders) people would be best, as participants would gain more from the experience.

Any student who has ever filed a complaint is encouraged to attend, though the program will be open to any interested students. The program will be careful not to blame the person coming to the workshop for the boundary that was broken. The first portion of the workshop will center on talking about what kind of boundaries there are. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences if they feel comfortable. As a healing exercise, they will also encourage individuals to share how they felt when their boundaries were crossed. 

Then the workshop will progress in a more general manner. It is expected that not everyone attending will have had a significant boundary breaking experience, so the workshop leaders are making sure to provide information that will be helpful to all participants. There will be a section on how to establish firm boundaries initially, another on how to deal with situations once a boundary has been broken and a section on how to talk to the boundary crosser to ensure that behavior does not continue. The session will conclude with all participants, one by one, demonstrating how they would put an assigned boundary in place. 

Some believe that this workshop will not help. The skill of establishing boundaries is likely something that cannot be taught in a one-hour workshop by strangers to the Lawrence community. Many organizations on campus work to facilitate boundary setting already, and are not always utilized. It is unsure if individuals will even attend the workshop, as those who have the most difficulty setting boundaries often struggle with accepting when their boundaries are broken. Before the workshop comes to campus, the facilitators need to discuss who their target audience is.

While it is unclear whether the workshop will be a success or not, it is a step in the right direction to have a conversation about the importance of facilitating one’s needs. If the intervention is successful, there may be more workshops to come. Only time will tell if this is something worth pursuing.