Oct. 4, 2017 – Last month, Dean of Student Affairs, Jennifer Forry, debuted her project titled ‘empowerMENt,’ bringing together students, faculty and staff to educate and train on the subject of sexual assault on college campuses. This retreat aims to create more inclusive, safe, and respectful campus environment by inspiring men to be leaders and advocators. Dean Forry and the Newbury Community are grateful for the Innovation Grant awarded by the NASPA Foundation at the beginning of this year.
During the retreat, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Student Center Auditorium to participate in ice breakers, listen to speakers and have group discussions. Thomas Harwell, the Director of Diversity Initiatives at Boston University and Ryan Grant, Associate Director of Residence Life at Holy Cross as well as the NASPA Region I Men and Masculinites Knowledge Chair, both were guest speakers of the day.
According to Dean Forry, “The inspiration for the program came from my doctoral research which has centered around Men and Sexual Misconduct. When developing the idea of empowerMENt I also realized the need for this program to also focus on developing more male leaders on campus… As a nation we need to do better with teaching, encouraging, and training, men to influence a campus culture of respect.”
This retreat allowed students to learn and interact with their peers while forming a mentor/mentee relationship with a faculty or staff member. The intention of this relationship is to encourage further discussion and learning once the retreat is over. Dean Forry explained, “As a pilot program I was extremely pleased with the engaged participation from not only our students but from our faculty and staff who served as mentors. I'm hopeful that the relationships between the mentors and mentees will continue throughout this year and the years to follow.”
Mentor participants range from faculty across disciplines to residence life, campus security, athletics staffs and more. Athletic Director, Jonathan Harper, was able to attend many of the sessions throughout the day. “The mentoring piece of the program is critically important for male students to understand there are fellow males on campus in administrative roles that can assist in dealing with these situations,” said Harper. “With the increased awareness of sexual assault on college campuses, we are all held accountable when a situation occurs on campus. Prevention and communication are the keys addressing sexual assault [and] every administrator on every campus strives to provide a safe atmosphere.”
Dan Amorim, Director of Campus Safety, also attended the retreat. He said, “I participated in the empowerMent program to serve as a mentor to the young men of Newbury College. My goal is to help these students understand that though I may serve the college in a disciplinarian role, I also can be easily accessible for mentoring and guidance. By helping these students understand that I was also in similar circumstances when I was their age, I hoped to connect with them.”
The students were also eager to participate and learn more about being a leader on campus. Dylan Presby ’21, said, “The experience was great because everyone that was at the empowerMENt meeting participated and it was great to hear everyone’s input. What I found the most important from my experience is never limit yourself to any goals: try to achieve every goal you have and you will be successful. Never be afraid to lead because you will be surprised of how many people may follow.”
The goal of empowerMENt is to continue the discussion on sexual assault and to positively change the culture on campus. The Newbury Community is proud to have dedicated staff members like Dean Forry as well as the support from the NASPA Foundation to achieve this mission.
Jonathan Harper reflected on his experience, “I applaud Dean Forry for putting together this program…The reviews from the student-athletes and coaches were overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it was expressed to me that those who participated would like to assist in the growth of the program at Newbury and hope to participate in the facilitation of the discussion.”
Congratulations to Dean Forry on the success of the first empowerMENt retreat.
About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens.
Contact: Sarah Johansson, Communications Coordinator
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