Michigan first lady's assault prevention initiative funds WMU program

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of Sue Snyder.

Sue Snyder

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University programming aimed at getting men more involved in the prevention of sexual assault will be funded through Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder's new Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program.

Distribution of grants totaling $500,000 to 23 Michigan colleges and universities was announced Nov. 4 by the first lady. WMU will receive $25,000 to add to its existing programs with a pilot program that will provide leadership training and transferable skills that can empower men to become part of the fight against sexual assault. 

The first lady's grant program garnered some 33 funding requests totaling more than $1.6 million. Priority was given to projects that fostered collaboration, involved multiple entities working in partnership, focused on innovative ideas and encouraged student involvement.

The WMU program successful in receiving funding is housed in the Sindecuse Health Center on campus, with collaboration from Student Activities and Leadership Programs at WMU and the Office of Student Involvement at Kalamazoo College. The program will address the fact that while much assault prevention work is focused on engaging all students, the role men can play in preventing assault is key.

According to Cari Robertson, WMU's director of health promotion and education, the new program will launch a co-curricular prevention leadership program for students that focuses on:

  • Leadership training
  • Peer education training.
  • Bystander intervention skills.

The new program will likely be launched during the spring semester and will begin as a pilot to engage more male students from diverse backgrounds. Students of all gender identities will be encouraged to join in the wide variety of peer education and leadership opportunities that address sexual assault at WMU. 

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