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Student group earns national recognition for stalking awareness program
Some of the leaders of Students for Violence Prevention, back row, L-R: Lydia Swanson, Caitlin Martin, Ali Smith (adviser) and Stephanie Baima; front row, L-R: Breana Washington, Xavier Sheehy and Samantha Wright.

Student group earns national recognition for stalking awareness program

A Pittsburg State University student group dedicated to sexual assault and domestic violence prevention has been honored with a national award for a stalking awareness program it presented on campus.

A Pittsburg State University student group dedicated to sexual assault and domestic violence prevention has been honored with a national award for a stalking awareness program it presented on campus.

PSU’s Students for Violence Prevention (SVP) received the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Outstanding Prevention Program award for “P.S. I Love You: Stalking Awareness Evening,” which it presented on campus last January. The group received the award at the NASPA General Assembly, which was held in November in Reston, Va.

Ali Smith, SVP adviser and PSU’s coordinator of violence prevention and victim advocacy, said the stalking awareness evening program included a talk by a stalking victim and a panel discussion that included representatives from campus police, university administration, mental health professionals and victim advocates.

“Students could text questions for the panel members so they could remain anonymous,” Smith said. “It was a good discussion.”

She added that having a first-person story by a victim of stalking was one of the keys to the success of the program.

Smith said the students she advises in SVP are committed to making a difference on campus.

“All of our students are so wonderful,” Smith said. “They are all so busy, but I can see their passion about wanting to make a difference.”

Smith said SVP is planning programs now for the spring semester. January is Stalking Awareness Month, February 7-13 will be Healthy Relationship Week and April is Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month.

“We will have programs for all of these events,” Smith said. “I can see the awareness growing among students about these issues and I’m certain that the work students in SVP are doing is playing a part in that.”

SVP is one part of an award-winning and longstanding peer health education effort on the PSU campus through the Office of Student Prevention and Wellness that includes Gorillas in Your Midst. Throughout the year, the student groups present programs that focus on responsible decision making, harm reduction, social norming, environmental management and peer health education.

For more information on SVP, call the Violence Prevention Office at 620-235-4831. For information on student prevention and wellness programs, call the Office of Student Prevention and Wellness at 620-235-4062.

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