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  • Maddie Dishaw

Briar Cliff Staff Educate About Russia-Ukraine Conflict

On Thursday, February 24, Russia shocked the world when they invaded Ukraine, an extension of the Russia-Ukranian conflict that’s been ongoing since February 2014. Now, over 3.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country and are finding refuge in the surrounding nations.


With much of the world in disarray, Briar Cliff staff took it as an opportunity to educate the student body about the social, religious, and mental health aspects of the invasion. This was done with a Q&A session held on February 15 in the on-campus cafeteria.


The first of the three speakers was Dr. Eric Junke, who spoke on the geopolitical perspective around the invasion and Russia motivation for the invasion.


“There is this desire to avoid another opponent wanting to create a world that is based on democratic principles of freedom, self-determination, openness and free trade,” Dr. Junke said.


The second speaker of the Q&A session was head of campus ministry, Jason Salisbury. The focus of his portion was centered around the religious and spiritual implications of the invasion and the national narratives that play a significant role.


“These are narratives that really unite a sense of identity and purpose and passion for something,” Salisbury said. “In Russia, we have the influence, the majority, of Russian Orthodoxy in Russia, as part of this argument, but also you have different worldwide groups.”


Salisbury also discussed how the Franciscan values of Briar Cliff will be important to achieving peace between the countries.


To wrap up, Therese Copple spoke on how the event can impact your mental health and how you can help yourself during these stressful times.


“It’s important to set boundaries, as far as, how often you look at the news,” Copple said. “And, if you find yourself getting stressed, it important to take a step back and take care of yourself.”


Copple recommends different self-care activities like journaling, coloring, getting enough sleep and other relaxing activities that can help combat anxious feelings about the invasion.


Freshman attendee, Elizabeth Bochert, thought the Q&A session was very enlightening.


“I thought it was really helpful,” Bochert said. “I didn’t know much about what was going on, and this really helped me understand better.”


Any further questions about the invasion can be directed towards Dr. Eric. Junke, Jason Salsbury, or Therese Copple.


Briar Cliff students listen to Dr. Eric Junke, Jason Salisbury and Therese Copple speak about the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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