Founded by the 2024 class of Eminence Fellows in 2021, Project PEER is OPEEP’s satellite student organization that offers additional opportunities to bring higher education to currently and formerly incarcerated persons. Though Project PEER was formed by the Eminence Fellows, membership is open to all OSU students and serves as a fantastic opportunity to get involved with OPEEP or remain involved after taking an OPEEP course! Interested students can also apply to join Project PEER's new Learning Community at Madison Correctional Institution in London, OH by completing this online form (deadline is 5/1/2023).
Project PEER mission statement: Through open dialogue with incarcerated students, Project PEER seeks to support currently and formerly incarcerated individuals to achieve their educational goals in the most accessible ways for them.
Current Project PEER engagements:
1) In Winter/Spring 2023, Project PEER developed plans to start a new Learning Community at Madison Correctional Institution (MaCI) in London, Ohio. Meetings for the Learning Community are set to begin in Autumn 2023, with readings and discussions focusing on current world issues. Project PEER is looking for volunteers to join them at MaCI and participate in the collaborative learning community. Through open and rigorous discussion and regular readings, they plan to engage in productive discussion about important topics and simultaneously work to create equity and space for incarcerated perspectives. To apply for the Learning Community, interested students should complete THIS FORM, which includes further details about participation. Applications are due by May 1st, 2023 at 11:55 pm. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the application.
1) In fall 2022, Project PEER began participating in OPEEP's learning communities at the Southeastern Correctional Institute (SCI), a men’s prison in Lancaster, and the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) in Marysville. Learning communities are spaces for people to share ideas, engage in higher learning, and form academic networks. OPEEP's learning communities are composed of incarcerated individuals at each facility, OSU undergraduate campus students, and OSU faculty and staff members who want to support OPEEP programming by cultivating the skills and knowledge of community members through reading groups, discussions, guest presentations, and workshops. We pay particular attention to social justice, intersectionality, oppression, and related topics that help members and incarcerated students understand more about their positionality and experiences. Project PEER members will have the opportunity not only to attend these learning communities, but also to plan and co-facilitate meetings with incarcerated members of the learning community.
2) Headed by Eminence Fellow Robert Sunderhaft, Project PEER is creating a college application resource for those recently released from prison with the goals of pursuing higher education. This multi-faceted project will result in various deliverables supporting enrollment of previously incarcerated persons in colleges and universities, including a searchable database that will inform applicants of the requirements to apply to various programs, a guide providing tips on how to prepare the most compelling college application, and informational sheets that could be provided to soon-to-be-released incarcerated individuals on various higher education options. Members are needed to help collect data on application processes and requirements, financial aid, and grant opportunities for different Ohio higher education programs. A potential second phase to this project is Project PEER members offering individualized application mentoring to previously incarcerated persons applying to OSU.
3) To fund additional advocacy efforts and reading materials for the learning communities, Project PEER will be planning and running various fundraising events. Members are needed to come up with fundraising ideas, plan the logistics of fundraisers, and facilitate fundraising events.
4) Plan OPEEP sponsored events with Project PEER, such as movie nights, informational talks, etc.
To become a member of Project PEER, please complete this form.