I wanted to talk about a new group on campus that I am excited to be a part of! The group is called Peer Advocates for Sexual Respect, and it will provide resources and support for survivors, allies to survivors, and anyone else who has questions about consent, sexual respect, and the various resources we have available on and off campus for Olin students. Using similar groups from other campuses as an example, Kate Maschan '15 created this group for her AHS Capstone after she realized that Olin's campus could greatly benefit from such a group.
Although we all like to imagine Olin as a completely safe place protected by the Honor Code, it is a college campus, and sexual assaults do occur here just like all other college campuses. Peer Advocates will do everything we can to ensure that survivors are aware of all the resources available to them, while ensuring that they have the freedom to take whatever action they are most comfortable with. We offer unconditional support to anyone who seeks us out.
The team of 12 students were selected from a large pool of applicants, with a focus on creating a diverse, passionate group that allowed for any student who approached the group to find someone that they could relate to. The diversity of the group also allow for the passions of the team to permeate through many different areas of campus, creating a safer environment for all students. We hope that the team will encourage people to stop perpetuating rape culture through rape jokes, objectification, word choice, etc.
During orientation, first-years will be introduced to the entire team of Peer Advocates, and get the opportunity to ask any questions that they have. Contact information will then be distributed to the students, so they can reach the team whenever they want. The team will then host consent and respect sessions with small groups of first-years where we will discuss ways they can help make campus a safer place while answering questions in a more intimate setting.
We just finished training two days ago, and throughout training I continued to become more passionate about the topics we discussed. I am already much more aware about how my words and the words of those around me can make a large impact on creating a safer campus for all students. Please don't hesitate to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the program!
P.S. (Random) For the final project for my Robo Class, my team made a "Too Many Cooks" Team Introduction video which is hilarious. I recommend you watch "Too Many Cooks" first (Watch all the way through. Warning: It gets creepy). See our video here (props to Hannah Wilk on Editing)!