Tag Archives: college students

It’s on us!

Clark University has joined the national “It’s On Us” campaign to stop sexual assault and on April 6 unveiled an “It’s On Us” video featuring approximately 30 students, faculty, and staff from across campus uniting for the cause.

In this 90 second video, produced by junior Carlos Deschamps, members of the Clark Community pledge to create an environment on campus where everyone feels, and is, safe.  A diverse group of students and campus leaders express their willingness to take responsibility and do something to prevent sexual violence on campus.

Clark University President David Angel is shown saying, “At Clark University, ‘It’s On Us’ to stop sexual assault.” He adds that he took the pledge, and encourages others to do the same (to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported). University Police Chief Stephen Goulet appears in the video as well, pledging his commitment.
The White House launched the “It’s On Us” campaign on Sept. 19 and received support from student leaders at 200 colleges and universities, collegiate sports organizations and private companies.

Since then, at least 10 Massachusetts’ colleges and universities have joined the national campaign; Clark and WPI are the only colleges in Greater Worcester that have created and promoted “It’s On Us” videos to date. WPI’s video is available here.

Kathleen Palm Reed, associate director of clinical training and research associate professor of psychology, advised the video project, along with a subcommittee made up of individuals from Clark’s Coordinated Community Response Team.  They include Tim St. John, director of Student Leadership & Programming; Erin Dolan, therapist and wellness outreach coordinator; Meghan Reilly ’16; Maria Cerce, hall director, Residential Life & Housing; and University Police Officer Kalah LaPlante.

Professor Palm Reed said it was particularly fitting that the video was launched during the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“As we’ve always recognized the importance of bystander education as a key part of violence prevention, we embraced the opportunity to participate in this important national campaign. The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign’s call for action speaks to our community responsibility to end sexual violence,” said Palm Reed, who is also co-director of the Clark Anti-Violence Education (CAVE) program along with Denise Hines, research associate professor of psychology.

Reilly, a psychology major who minors in sociology has spent the majority of her undergraduate career researching topics of interpersonal and sexual violence among the undergraduate community.  She plans to devote her honor’s thesis to this topic.

“I know someone who has been personally victimized, and stories like hers have fueled my resolve at better understanding this epidemic, educating my peers about sexual and interpersonal violence, and changing community beliefs and norms,” Reilly said.
In addition to this latest video in recent months Clark has increased its violence prevention program initiatives.  In fall 2014, the University began using interactive behavioral modeling online programs with first-year students and expanded its programming for both undergraduate and graduate international students. The University also worked with several community partners to bring special programming to campus in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In a memo to the campus dated April 1, President Angel informed the campus community that, beginning with the new academic year, an expanded program of training will be mandatory for all incoming students, and that Clark will also be implementing a new training program for faculty and staff. To support this expanded programming, the University will fill a new half-time position that will be responsible for developing and implementing additional training and awareness efforts related to sexual misconduct.

Get the Dirt on Katie, Our School Gardens VISTA!

From the Worcester Regional Environmental Council …

For those of you that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Katie Rozenas and I am serving my second year as the [the Regional Environmental Council’s] School Gardens AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

My job is to provide technical garden support and educational resources to 27 school and educational gardens throughout the city of Worcester.

People often ask me why I chose to become an AmeriCorps VISTA. The answer is simple. After graduation, I wanted to be an advocate for food justice and work with an organization whose mission is very close to my heart.

Farming is an integral part of my family heritage and there is no doubt that I have farming blood running through my veins. Growing up, I had the privilege of going to my grandparent’s farm in Oxford to get fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers that grew them. I eventually worked with my grandmother for over 5 years at the Worcester and Holden farmers’ markets.

Between working at the farmers’ market and getting funny looks from my college classmates for eating raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers in class, I soon realized that many people, especially young people were unaware of where their food comes from, and the importance of eating fresh locally grown food.

Being part of the “REC Food Justice League,” (as we affectionately call ourselves) has been a unique and rewarding experience which has fueled my optimism for future generations.

It has been an honor to have the unique opportunity to teach garden-based educational activities to students ranging from pre-school to 12th grade. Over 2,400 students and 240  teachers have taken advantage of their school garden and the resources offered through our network this year. 
This past April at Tatnuck Magnet Elementary School, I and three volunteers led a school-wide educational activity called I Can Eat a Whole Plant. The activity highlighted the various plant parts that we eat. To begin, each student shared what their favorite vegetable was. Some of the students responded by saying, “I’m allergic to all vegetables,” “I heard that vegetables are bad for you,” and “I don’t like any vegetables, they are gross.”

I asked every student to try a bite of a vegetable sample as part of our activity, thinking that some might spit it out but hoping for the best. I was shocked but overjoyed when every single student in the school sampled all the vegetables. Many even asked for seconds!

During the spring when I feel the most overwhelmed by all of the work that I have to do, I remember Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

I immediately feel empowered, and reassured that the work we are doing is important and meaningful to thousands of students throughout the city.

I love coordinating the School Gardens Network and the experiences I’ve had working at the REC have been invaluable and truly memorable. I am thrilled to work with an amazing and dedicated Food Justice Staff, devoted volunteers, thankful teachers, and inspiring youth.

Katie Rozenas is REC’s School Gardens Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA