Principia College’s mediation team (from left ) is Elaina Cokinos, Brian Simpson, Cassidy Alford, Meredith Clark, Abigail Blatt and Justin Duffy.
ELSAH — Principia College’s six-person mediation team — which includes two-time All-Americans (sophomore Cassidy Alford and senior Brian Simpson) and a three-time All-American (senior Meredith Clark) — competed in the International Intercollegiate Mediation Championship in Gainesville, Ga., in early November.
Competing against about 40 teams from approximately 20 colleges, including Boston University, Williams College, Texas Wesleyan, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and tournament host Brenau University, Principia claimed first place in Team Advocacy and second place in Team Mediation, along with several individual honors. After the awards dinner, a coach from another team approached Principia’s contingent to say, “Congratulations! Principia is ‘The Mouse That Roared.’”
Principia professor Dr. Jeffrey Steele trains students during the semester and traveled with them to the tournament.
“Our team philosophy has become never to see the mediation as two sides pitted against each other,” Steele says. “Instead, we see the mediation process as everyone in the room against the problem. It is the way we should view every challenge that we face in life: never person vs. person, rather everyone against the source of conflict.”
Principia’s team strives to practice this ideal in tournaments.
“Mock mediation is the only competition I know about that rewards empathy and collaboration between opposing teams,” Meredith Clark says. “Placing well is fun, but it is not our top priority. Our goal is to approach each tournament round ... prioritizing healing and peace building above winning.”
As it turns out, that’s a winning strategy. Principia’s mediation team has won 10 All-American trophies since the team started in 2006. And their recent success earned them a berth at the International Law School Mediation Championships at Drake University in March 2015.