ESU has been awarded the It’s On Us grant for the third time through the Governor’s It’s On Us PA Grant Program. The $30,000 grant will be used to increase awareness about sexual assault on campus.
Laura Suits, Wellness Education and Prevention Coordinator, said, “The grant has three major components which focus on reducing the barriers of reporting processes, increasing awareness about sexual assault and improving campus culture.”
The grant stems from the Its On Us PA campaign that Governor Tom Wolf launched in January 2016.
According to the Department of Education’s website, the It’s On Us PA has awarded a total of 113 grants amounting to nearly three million dollars to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses.
Suits said that one of the things they will be able to accomplish through the grant is hiring two graduate student workers at the Wellness Education and Prevention offices.
“We will be hiring two graduate student workers who will be promoting programs and trying to reduce issues with sexual assault,” Suits said. “They will also be doing research to understand trends, data and trying to figure out a solution to move forward.”
Suits revealed that the graduate student workers will also be providing training to undergraduate peer educators who will be part of a student-led Sexual Awareness and Prevention Team. This team will then be able to provide educational programs throughout campus.
On top of this, they also hope to blanket the campus with different opportunities to raise more awareness about sexual assault and how we, as a campus, can reduce the barriers when reporting it.
One of the ways they hope to accomplish this is by purchasing EVERFI, an online software system that offers sexual assault prevention courses. Each student will be required to complete the program prior to returning to campus.
Suits said that the grant funds will also be used for merchandise that raises awareness about sexual assault and initiates conversation through hats, buttons, and t-shirts. These items will be distributed at events and training programs conducted by the Sexual Awareness and Prevention Team.
“Through this grant, the resources will be more visible,” Suits said. “Anything to increase the conversation. The number one way to change things is to have organic conversations.”
Suits and Lonnie Allbaugh, Title IX Coordinator, will also be having a Title IX brochure printed and ready for distribution soon. On the form, students will have easy access to the report form if they need to file a Title IX complaint or need accommodations.
Allbaugh wants to remind students of the many resources we have on campus. Allbaugh revealed that ESU is partnered with Women’s Resources of Monroe County who is able to offer students the support and additional resources.
The Women’s Resources of Monroe County is open to everyone, not just women. They offer a 24-hour hotline, provide victim’s advocates, counseling and more.
“Students can be better advocates for themselves,” Suits said. “Talk about sex and get the conversation started. When students come together and talk about it openly, people feel more comfortable talking about consent and different situations.”
For more information about resources on campus, email Laura Suits at email@example.com or Lonnie Allbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Resources of Monroe County Hotline: 570-421-4200.
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