Mar 28, 2019
CHECK IT, HSU’s student-led violence prevention program, celebrated its fifth year recently.
Participants in the Students for Violence Prevention learning community display CHECK IT materials. The program, which focuses on educating students and the community about consent, as well as strategies for preventing and intervening in cases of sexual violence, has grown to involve more than 100 student volunteers who put on a variety of workshops and other events. The program is even expanding into the community—coordinators are working to establish a CHECK IT chapter at Arcata High School.
“The growth and people involved have been amazing,” says Mary Sue Savage, CHECK IT prevention coordinator. More than 400 students attended a recent five-year anniversary party, and t-shirts, pins, and posters bearing the CHECK IT logo can be spotted all over the community.
CHECK IT and the lessons it instills have been embedded into a number of student groups and clubs, expanding awareness of the program and opportunities to be involved. “As soon as students come up to campus, we like to establish immediately that here at HSU we check it,” Savage says. That message is reiterated in an expanding number of places on campus, and not just official events like workshops. CHECK IT party and event merchandise keeps that message present in every space.
It’s difficult to quantify the exact impacts of CHECK IT. A 2017 survey of knowledge about the program, as well as consent and personal experience with interventions, found significant awareness and engagement, Savage says.
Nine out of 10 students surveyed knew of CHECK IT and believed that it created a safer campus community. Thirty percent reported witnessing a potential or actual moment of harm since attending HSU, and of those students, more than 70 percent intervened.
Another measure is the growth in people involved and volunteering. Seventy-nine volunteers attended a fall retreat in 2018 compared to 40 the first year.
Christian Calderon, a Psychology sophomore, learned about CHECK IT during his orientation. “Its message and purpose immediately resonated with me,” he says. He’s taken an active role in the organization, and is meeting with Arcata High School to present information to the people interested in beginning a program there.
For Calderon and Giselle Salazar, a Psychology freshman also involved in CHECK IT, talking openly about consent and sexual assault prevention was a new experience.
“In high school it wasn’t a topic to talk about— it was taboo,” says Salazar, who’s also in the first cohort of the Students for Violence Prevention learning community. “It was nice to see everyone at Humboldt recognized it’s an issue and is willing to work together to solve it.”
The Sexual Assault Prevention Committee received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice last year to continue the CHECK IT program, which has been recognized by the White House. Expanding the program to Arcata High School has been a collaboration of school administrators, the Humboldt Area Foundation, the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, and HSU.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
• Take Back the Night on April 12, 2019.
Campus and Local Resources
• Campus Advocate Team/The North Coast Rape Crisis Team 24-Hour hotline: 707.445.2881.
• The Humboldt Domestic Violence Services 24-hour hotline: 707.443.6042.
• Link: Stop Rape – Response and Prevention