The University of Toledo’s Sexual Assault Education Prevention Program, or SAEPP, is kicking the new school year off by continuing annual programs and starting new initiatives.
The program works very closely with the Young Women’s Christian Association, according to Stanley Edwards, director of the Counseling Center, and they hope to create an office for one of their representatives at the center on campus.
“They (YWCA) train our advocates, they work with us to provide education and there are times when some of our students may want an advocate that’s not affiliated with UT directly so they help us with that too,” Edwards said.
Edwards also said a new position was created as the coordinator of SAEPP and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs program. This position will help the center run these programs more efficiently and be able to do more with them.
The position’s responsibilities will include the planning and execution of all SAEPP and ATOD events, said Lena Salpietro, a graduate student working for SAEPP.
“Right now I am the one who plans and executes the events,” Salpietro said. “But that will change as soon as a new coordinator is hired.”
Together with the YWCA and the team members of the SAEPP, the counseling center looks to start a new year off well with their first event: the Clothesline Project, according to Edwards.
The Clothesline Project is an event sponsored every year by SAEPP. The event is a display of T-shirts from sexual assault survivors that are hung up to spread awareness.
“The Clothesline Project is going to be displayed,” Edwards said. “As well as we are going to have an umbrella-decorating contest where we’ll invite whoever to decorate umbrellas, certainly about the educational message of sexual violence.”
The event this year is also being held simultaneously with the national event of Rape Abuse Incest National Network day, according to Salpietro.
“That’s an event that is sponsored across the nation on college campuses … to raise awareness about sexual violence across the country,” Edwards said.
This event will be held on Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Trimble Lounge in the Student Union. The program continues to host many other events throughout the year including the silent witness, a 5K race, and a variety of guest speakers, said Tressa Johnson, a committee member for SAEPP.
“It’s to make sure we’re educating our students, that were providing lots of avenues of resources, and several events that educate and support our students,” Johnson said.
The program is to meet for the first time this year on Wednesday, Sept. 9, to discuss upcoming events. The program leaders will meet with the committee members to hear about new ideas and the planning of new projects to see what different and exciting things they can accomplish this year, according to Johnson.
“It’s to see if anyone has any good ideas we haven’t thought of yet,” Salpietro said.
The committee gets together with new ideas and thoroughly researches them to understand exactly what they are bringing to the campus and why, said Johnson.
“It’s a really thought-out process, and that’s one thing I appreciate,” Johnson said, “It’s not that you have this block of time and you need to do this many events in this block of time.”
The group continues to work on campus and collaborate with different organizations to bring awareness about sexual assault, Johnson said.
“The main goal, for me, is to work with students to get good information out and to see what we can do better,” Salpietro said.