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Upstanding: Stepping Up to Prevent Violence in Utah

“Upstanding” is a bystander intervention approach to the prevention of sexual violence and other harms. The purpose is to prepare members of the USU campus community with the skills and knowledge needed to safely and effectively intervene when they sense a threat or potential harm to another. Threats include sexual misconduct, depression or suicidal thoughts, or interpersonal violence.

The Upstanding program turns bystanders into Upstanders.

Upstander: A person stands up to prevent harm to another.

Staff members and students in areas across campus are trained to provide this prevention program to any campus group, organization or class.

Training Options

  • Full 2-hour Training: This program will empower participants to become upstanders and allows time to practice scenarios for safe and effective intervention. This is recommended for those who want or need to practice and become comfortable with the concept of bystander intervention.
  • 40-minute Introduction: This shortened program introduces the concept of becoming an upstander and safe intervention. This is recommended for classes and those who just want to find out more about the Upstanding program.

Upstanding Program Basics

The “bystander effect” says that people are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. But once one person intervenes, others will join them. The Upstanding program teachers bystanders how to become upstanders.

A person can practice bystander intervention before, during or even after an incident occurs, and many options are available depending on the upstander’s comfort level and safety. The first priority of an upstander is their personal safety.

Upstanders Exemplify Aggies Think, Care, Act

Once these skills are learned, they can be applied in any situation where a bystander can step in and help someone whose health and safety is threatened. This program exemplifies USU’s Aggies Think, Care, Act program, which immerses Aggies into a community of caring that values human dignity, equality, respect and safety for each member of the Aggie family. 

More About Upstanding

Utah State University launched Upstanding in fall semester 2017 as a pilot for the Utah Department of Health’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program, which developed the program. Upstanding is provided free throughout the state to both communities and schools. It is based on best practices for violence prevention programs, and USU will assess its impact on attitudes and behavior over time. During the 2017-18 academic year, nearly 3,000 students were trained as Upstanders.