By Danielle Chaloux
As Dartmouth College bans hard alcohol on campus in an effort to reduce “extreme behaviors,” the University of Connecticut focuses on education. The Greeks Against Sexual Assault program, a collaboration between the Women’s Center and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, is one of the cogs in the wheel.
The approaches to eliminating sexual assault on college campuses vary widely across the country, ranging from self-defense classes to calls to abolish Greek life, all aimed at finding out “what is the most effective way of preventing sexual assault?”
“Well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?” said Kathleen Holgerson, the director of the Women’s Center at the University of Connecticut.
Students participating in the Greeks Against Sexual Assault program, discuss issues of gender, sexuality, violence, and privilege in weekly meetings for six to eight weeks.
“For the most part, they are peer led meetings, and we think that’s an important component,” Holgerson said.
Holgerson says the discussions have elicited powerful responses, and students have not only had the opportunity to explore the issues, but also have been able to develop a camaraderie. As Holgerson puts it, participants can get a sense that “I am not alone in my interest in this and there are other people who care about this.”
Holgerson says the challenge is staying motivated once the program is over and the group of like-minded people have gone back to their respective houses in Husky Village. The Women’s Center offers more opportunities to get involved, including the Men’s Project and the Violence Against Women Prevention Program, as well as opportunities to become a peer facilitator. For more information, womenscenter.uconn.edu.
(Featured Photo by Ryan King)