Strength United, a chartered center of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge, will partner with the athletics departments of two community colleges, Los Angeles Pierce College (LAPC) and College of the Canyons (COC), to plan, implement, and evaluate sexual violence primary prevention programming. Strength United will work across the community college system and within each college to conduct activities that reduce perpetration of sexual assault by changing norms, behaviors, the campus climate, and the college system. By the end of the program, two community colleges will have partnered Strength United with their athletics departments to implement sexual violence primary prevention; the two athletics departments will have lead athletes championing and diffusing primary prevention practices; and a majority of the 600 plus athletes at the schools will be trained in sexual violence primary prevention.
Strength United will expand the position of a current staff member to take on the role of College Athletics Prevention Education Specialist (CAPES). The CAPES will coordinate with each college, including faculty in the athletics departments, Title IX staff, and student athletes, to plan and implement the program. The CAPES will be on-site at least one day per week at each campus to facilitate meetings, develop relationships, meet with student athletes, recruit lead athletes, conduct at least eight trainings (on topics such as affirmative consent, upstanding, alcohol, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and prosocial masculinity), and implement prevention activities and campaigns in partnership with the colleges. At least twelve lead athletes will direct peer interactions, assist with designing and implementing events and materials, and co-present trainings. In addition, the CAPES will bring the colleges together through monthly e-mail updates and at least one in person meeting, so that they can leverage their work for greater efficiency, maximize the impact of prevention messaging activities and strategies, and enhance the impact of the work on the college system by streamlining talking points, messaging to supervisors, and agreeing on priority advocacy steps.
Other planned activities include athletics policy review and updating to reflect a zero-tolerance stance; the design and dissemination of at least 500 sexual violence prevention materials; creation and implementation of at least one It’s On Us/Take the Pledge event per campus; and creation and implementation of at least one event and/or campaign per campus that is designed by the athletes. Process and impact evaluation will be conducted throughout the program to monitor efficacy, ensure the timely realization of program benchmarks, drive program modification, and inform future implementation of similar programs.
All of the work will culminate in the creation of a document that notes steps taken (including relationship building within and across community colleges), activities implemented, and evaluation results to allow for replication.