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Center for Women and Gender Receives Grant

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Center for Women and Gender Receives Grant

By Caitlin Moffitt, in The Utah Statesman, Friday, January 13, 2012

The Office on Violence Against Women awarded a federal grant of $300,000 to USU's Center for Women and Gender, SAAVI Office and CAPSA. The grant money will be used for the development of an interactive program and awareness campaign.

"It is really an educational grant in the sense that one of the main purposes is to help students understand healthy and unhealthy relationships," said Diane Stuart, the project director for the grant. "So they understand the definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and even understand the laws."

Together, the Center for Women and Gender, SAAVI (Sexual Assault and Anti-violence Information) Office and CAPSA (Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency) are designing a three-phase program to raise awareness about safety, violence, dating and relationships. The three phases include an online interactive program, peer-to-peer education and a campus-wide campaign.

"Our first wave that we intend to do is putting together an online interactive and dynamic training session that all students must take," Stuart said. "We are in the process of putting it all together. It will be extremely interactive — we're hoping a student will get into it, see a scenario and will be taken down different roads based on the decisions the student takes."

"SAAVI provides the services, we provide the counseling and the advocacy, and the center is in charge of the budget and assisting with the development," said Monica Bailey, the SAAVI program coordinator. "All three entities have to contribute and participate in the development and training."

Stuart said the program will, ideally, be available through new student orientation and smartphone apps.

"We are shooting for the online interactive program available by September 2012," she said.

Stuart would like for all new, transfer and current students to take the online interactive program, which would take about an hour to complete.

"The goal is to make the program as accessible as possible for all students," Bailey said. "We'll have it available on our Web page and the Center for Women and Gender's Web page, so students can register and take it online — whether on a home computer, campus computer or phone."

Bailey said once the interactive program is available, the developers of the program will want feedback from students.

"I think some people have the idea that we're going to be creating an hour-long, dry presentation, but we're going for something much more powerful than that," Bailey said. "We'll be looking for feedback from students that will tell us honestly if the program was powerful enough."

Allison White, a doctoral student studying psychology, said she will be working on the development and implementation of the program.

"My role is going to be working with SAAVI, CAPSA and other groups to develop the training and come up with the objectives for the online program, and how everything will work together," White said. "We really have the potential that will help prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and rape awareness. It helps educate and empower USU students."

Stuart and Bailey began writing the grant application in May 2011. Bailey said the grant took about four months to write. Stuart said organizations from across the country applied for the grant, and USU was one of about 30 programs to receive a grant.

"I'm very excited for the program," Stuart said. "I think we have a way to get information to students that will be engaging, informative and will have an impact on their lives."

Leaders of SAAVI and the Center for Women and Gender are looking for volunteers to be involved in the development of the online program and the peer-to-peer education.

entry to USU's Center for Women and Gender

USU's Center for Women and Gender has received a $300,000 federal grant to develop a three-phase awareness program about safety in dating and relationships. Katrina Anne Perkins photo

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