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Sexual assault prevention program works to change campus culture at MSU

What difference can a year make? With just more than a year of operation, the Prevention, Outreach and Education Department is focusing cultural change at Michigan State University around relationship violence and sexual misconduct prevention.

The department was created in 2018 upon the recommendation of the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup to educate the campus community on preventing RVSM and other violence; empowering staff, faculty and students to become advocates for a non-violent community; and positively affect a cultural change.

Credit Russ White MSU Today
Kelly Schweda, director of MSU's Prevention, Outreach and Education Department

POE has made significant strides in accomplishing these goals by providing customized in-person training and online learning to more than 72,000 campus community members, according to its first annual report.

Growing from one designated prevention staffer in the Department of Student Life, POE now includes seven full-time prevention specialists, a director and associate director and more than 100 peer educators who partner with campus units to provide educational programing for employees and students.

POE this year hosted the first Creating Change through Collaboration Summit for MSU faculty, staff and graduate students to discuss the impact of sexual assault and violence and how to address RVSM issues within their respective programs.

Credit POE at MSU

The department also partnered with multiple student organizations, including the Associated Students of Michigan State University and the University Activities Board, to facilitate “It’s On Us” weeks of action in the fall and spring. This series of events creates awareness around RVSM issues and is held during Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness months in April and October.

POE will continue to expand its efforts and share best practices with other institutions.

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870.

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