By Haley Doss, Assistant News Editor —
Step Up! is making strides to partner with organizations on campus to educate students and faculty about proper bystander intervention.
Step Up! is a national program that educates students on bystander intervention and how to best help others in their time of need. They touch on situations like sexual assault, drinking and driving, drug abuse and more.
It was introduced to campus two years ago after a few members and has since has trained over 2,500 students on bystander prevention including most athletes and various student organizations.
There goals include raising awareness of helping behavior, increasing motivation to help others, developing skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns and ensuring the safety and well-being of self and others.
Tricia Henderson, assistant director of Alcohol, Other Drug & Mental Health Education, was fundamental in bringing the program to the university. She finds the psychology behind the intervention to be a large part of Step Up!.
“In the past we have learned that people intervening is not the norm as a society and as a community we step back,” said Henderson. “How do we, as a Mocs family, become people who are willing to help each other?”
Haley Wilson, the student leader for Step Up!, is a senior and political science major from Cookville, Tenn. She gives presentations on campus to various organizations and students on bystander intervention and programs for Step-Up! events.
She is working to build relationships with organizations on campus to spread the ideas that Step Up! promotes.
“If there is one thing I have learned about programming on the UTC campus is that when you work with other organizations, that is when you are the most successful,” said Wilson.
One of the current programs that Wilson is working on a Spring Break Survival Pack to distribute to students to prepare them for their upcoming travels. The packs will include sun screen, chap stick, condoms and other items along with educational information about bystander issues like sexual assault, alcohol poisoning and blacking out.
Step Up! is partnering with SGA, IFC, RHA and many other organizations to educate students on how to properly intervene or handle serious situations that may arise in an environment like Spring Break.
“All of the organizations are coming together to help bring awareness to what students might face and working with them has made it more successful,” said Wilson.
Wilson feels it is important to give students the knowledge to combat some of the unfortunate things college students often witness.
“Last year we saw the example of that student driving on campus that was drunk,” said Wilson. “You have students following him around for hours on Snapchat, seeing him almost wreck multiple times and not doing anything. These are things we may not see as important but we see them everyday.”
Wilson hopes that Step Up! will prevent similar bystander incidents from happening.
For more information on Step Up! or to be a student ambassador for the program, please visit www.utc.edu/step-up.