Bystander Intervention Recognized
Bystander Intervention Program honored as 'Outstanding'

The SUNY Council of Chief Student Affairs Officers and SUNY Office of University Life recently honored the college’s multifaceted Bystander Intervention Program with an Outstanding Student Affairs Program Award in the category for violence education and prevention, crisis management and campus security.

Shelly Sloan, health promotion coordinator at the Lifestyles Center, said collaboration among student organizations from Resident Life and Housing to Athletics, along with other campus stakeholders such as Title IX Coordinator Lisa Evaneski, has been critical to success of the program.

“All of these bystander intervention-based programs ultimately have the same goal: to create a culture on the SUNY Oswego campus of students who aren’t going to turn away when they see someone in trouble because they don’t think it’s their place,” Sloan said. “They are learning skills and discussing real-life scenarios that will help them if they ever find themselves in the position to help. If the students are not sure how to address these issues or what to do, we are equipping them with the skills, confidence and knowledge to recognize and intervene.”

Step Up! is a training program that teaches students information and skills needed to become empowered bystanders in situations such as the one in the program’s video, which shows ways that those attending a party could defuse the potential sexual abuse of a person who has had too much to drink. The training also covers bystander intervention in cases of depression, binge drinking and more.

There have been 23 90-minute Step Up! sessions, training 574 students, Sloan said, and a Lifestyles intern is working to train student facilitators to lead sessions and provide more opportunities for bystander intervention training starting in January.

In a related program called One Love Escalation Workshops, focused on relationship violence, students view a video titled “Escalation” that follows the evolution of a college romance to a horrifying end. Afterward, students discuss the scenario, including how bystander action at specific points in time could have changed the outcome. More than 1,200 students have received the training.

Evaneski, Sloan and the Student Association also team to hold information sessions with leaders of student clubs and other organizations—about 750 to date—during the first few weeks of classes regarding Title IX and bystander education. New Student Orientation also integrates the concept of bystander intervention and provides information.

The college also participates in the national “It’s On Us” campaign designed to change the way people think about sexual assault, by inspiring and encouraging people to see it as their responsibility to do something, anything, to prevent it.

PHOTO CAPTION: Accepting recognition—Jerald Woolfolk (left), vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, and Shelly Sloan, health promotions coordinator at the Lifestyles Center, recently accepted an Outstanding Student Affairs Program award from the SUNY Council of Chief Student Affairs Officers and SUNY Office of University Life for Oswego’s multifaceted Bystander Intervention Program.

(Posted: Oct 27, 2016)