Students at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are working to be leaders in changing campus culture across the nation. To learn new ways to achieve this goal and share their own ideas with other college students across the state, members of Rio’s Student Advisory Board traveled to the Generation IX Summit in Columbus. The event is hosted by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to bring college students throughout the state together learn new ways to share awareness of Title IX and sexual assault prevention. Dean of Students and Rio’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator Dena Warren said taking the Student Advisory Board to the conference gives them more opportunities to lead their own campaign on campus.
“We attended this conference in 2016, and that’s what started the idea to create a student advisory board here on campus. Our students want to be active in promoting awareness of what Title IX is and sexual assault prevention efforts on college campuses,” Warren said. “The students had the chance to attend sessions that focused on peer implementation and developing projects and campaigns to achieve their goal. This was a great experience for them to work as a team to see what ideas they can apply on our own campuses.”
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. In recent years, Title IX has taken a large focus on sexual assault and violence on college campuses across the country. Rio’s Student Advisory Board took the initiative to promote the message of prevention by launching a new See, Hear, Speak Campaign in October. The student-led campaign encourages bystander intervention by which individuals are empowered to speak up and report any form of sex-based harassment they see or hear. Senior Sports and Exercise Science Major and Student Advisory Board Member Kaylynn Bell said she enjoyed getting to network with other students throughout Ohio through a similar goal.
“The great thing about this conference is that there are students from both smaller and larger institutions across the state. We all had to share what we’ve each been doing to promote sexual assault awareness and prevention,” Bell said. “We went to the conference with the goal of bringing back two new ideas each that we could use to enhance our See, Hear, Speak Campaign, and we’re excited to implement those ideas in sharing our message with our fellow students.”
Rio’s Student Advisory Board has already begun sharing their message through flyers, presentations with students in the residence halls, and a monthly Soup and Substance lunch discussion surrounding the topic. Dan Rowbotham, Masters of Education in Integrated Arts Graduate Program student and Student Advisory Board Member said he feels the group brought back several new ideas they can apply to keep the successful See, Hear, Speak Campaign growing on campus.
“The conference was a good learning experience that allowed us to connect with other students and learn more about the different ways we’ve been working to achieve the same goal,” Rowbotham said. “It was encouraging to get positive feedback on our campaign as well as see how we can further it by getting more people engaged in the programs we host. Harnessing Rio’s uniqueness by involving our students in this campaign has already helped us share our message. Our campus is our strongpoint, and we hope that will continue to keep changing campus culture.”
For more information on this campaign, or to learn more about ways to prevent and report sexual assault, visit Rio’s Title IX webpage at http://www.rio.edu/titleix/.