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June 1, 2018

SVSU extends bystander training with help from $25K state grant

Saginaw Valley State University is stepping up its efforts in sexual assault prevention with help from a $25,044 grant from the State of Michigan.

The funds will support SVSU's Bringing in the Bystander program, which is based on an initiative created by the University of New Hampshire. SVSU has participated in the program since 2015. The recently-awarded $25,044 grant from the State of Michigan Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program funded training for more students through the Bringing in the Bystander initiative.

The program's impact will reach beyond SVSU's campus, said Michele Gunkelman, SVSU's director of Residential Life and one of the program's campus coordinators.

“It's not just here at SVSU where we have an impact,” she said. “Our campus is the main focus, but we also have a responsibility to our students to give them skills to take into the workforce and the community.”

Using the funds, 30 students and staff were trained during an 8-hour workshop. These trained facilitators in return plan to train other program participants. Campus leaders say at least 1,000 students will receive the training by December 2018.

The grant also will be used to launch a "Know Your Power" poster campaign - also designed by the University of New Hampshire - and a video contest for SVSU students. Videos submitted will demonstrate good pro-social bystander behavior to reduce sexual assault and stalking.

The project at SVSU is led by Gunkelman and Cortney Heileman, SVSU's assistant director of Student Wellness Programs.

For more information on the Bringing in the Bystander campaign at SVSU, visit www.svsu.edu/titleix/trainingeducation.