by Anna Roy
Hidden in the University of La Verne Chapel is a place unknown to most students: the Peace Loft.
Serving once as the office of former ULV pastor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, John Gingrich, the space was transformed into the Peace Loft in 1997.
The idea came to Debbie Roberts, protestant campus minister, in 1998 after she and other ULV faculty and students returned from an interterm trip to Vietnam.
“When we got back from the trip we wanted to have a forum for sharing information and the peace process,” she said. “The idea was to have a place for people interested in peace and social justice issues.”
She imagined a place where students, faculty and staff could go to meditate or just be alone without interruptions.
In the loft there is a couch, a television, VCR and a refrigerator stocked with drinks. These items were donated by the Associated Students Federation (ASF) Forum and Roberts.
Roberts has an interest and background in peace studies.
She, along with other members of the ULV community, is a member of the Church of the Brethren, which founded ULV in 1891.
The Brethren Church has a peace-based philosophy. This accounts for the peace studies minor available to students, with classes taught by Roberts and also by Steve Kinzie, assistant director of the Learning Enhancement Center.
The Peace Loft is open to all members of the ULV community, though mainly peace studies students use it .
“The Chapel supports all interfaith activities and traditions, so anybody who needed a place to pray or to be alone can always go there,” Roberts said.
In the past students have used it as a place to pray. Other students have enjoyed the various social justice videos and magazines that are available.
Hanging in the loft are framed Campus Times articles, remnants of past events at ULV.
The Peace Loft is kept locked and it must be opened by Roberts, who supervises the area, in order to enter it.
ULV junior Sean Saraf donated a large, neon-green, glow-in-the-dark clock in shape of a peace sign to the Peace Loft. He is one the few students who knew the loft existed.
“Make popcorn for discussions. It’s hardly used and it’d be nice for it to be used more,” said Kinzie.