The Pivotal Experiences in Applied Knowledge (PEAK) program is not only a widely recognized name on campus here at Concordia, but it is also an integrative and constantly advancing program that ceaselessly develops new ways of helping students be proactive in their community.The integration PEAK has created throughout the campus and community is what people hoped to reflect, the use of a liberal arts foundation to enact change throughout the world and the community.
An added bonus of having gone through these experiences is the almighty patch of PEAK honor. The program recently had its patch ceremony earlier this month on Sept. 14 when students who successfully completed a PEAK opportunity received either their first patch if it was their first experience, or their second patch if it was their second experience, each differentiated by color and number of diamonds.
Tim Hiller, the faculty member with strong connections to any of the PEAK experiences for students here on campus, described this incentive as a representation of the accomplishments those students who participate in the opportunities have.
“The background of PEAKs is that they are thought to be fairly intense educational opportunities and they’re one of the things the Committee on Integrative Learning wanted, to have something to congratulate the students on doing cool projects,” Hiller said.
The PEAK patches are a representation for students who work not just within the college, but also nationally across the the United States. The opportunity students have is not only one of an enhanced learning experience, but also the worldly values communicated through studying at Concordia.
Afton Eisch, a junior majoring in studio art here who recently participated in a PEAK camping trip last spring, believes in the vitality of bringing the PEAK aspect to other places as well.
“I suppose it puts Concordia out there in a really positive way because of the people that we met with along the way,” Eisch said.
Although to incoming freshmen, PEAKS can have a different appearance. Some may see it as an additional obstacle to climb over before graduation, others may have confusion about the actual purpose of the experiences.
First year student Brianna Pliscott is majoring in religion with a concentration in faith and leadership. Her views on PEAK resonate with a portion of the student body who are still a bit confused with the concept and reason behind PEAKs and what benefits they have to offer.
“Yeah I mean like I’ve been told what they are but I haven’t been told why we need to do that (PEAKs), or how it is going to enhance my college experience,” Pliscott said.
This has been a question some have been wondering: ‘how will this enhance my college experience?’ The answer to that lies on the PEAKs homepage on the Concordia website.The page says: “PEAKs are there to give you an edge in your future by introducing the experiences and skills necessary to succeed in your pursuits, as well as do it with a foundation based on the Liberal Arts mentality.“
Opportunities for PEAK include the Breakaways, which occur over either the fall or spring breaks and offer many experiences to suit any individual’s needs. From Habitat for Humanity trips, Justice Journeys, filming a documentary or staying on campus and doing community work; the options are out there and made widely available for any student interested. Though a relatively new opportunity for students to participate in, the PEAK experience has become a staple within the Concordia community and education.