A crowd of students gathered in the Muenster University Center ballroom to learn about sexual assault on Monday and Tuesday during a new university training.
The Hook Up event aims to teach students about sexual assault in a way that is beyond the policies and rules surrounding it.
Kailin Madinger, a sophomore elementary education and special education double major, said sexual assault awareness is something that needs to be addressed especially in a college town.
“I think it is something that can be swept under the rug sometimes and if it’s not talked about then it can be ignored and that’s not okay,” she said. “That’s when it becomes a normal thing.”
Laura Anderton, director of sorority and fraternity life and leadership, said there are two reasons sexual assault training is important: the policy reason and the real reason. The policies are the rules that the university devised when dealing with sexual assault.
Sororities and fraternities are required to have 75 percent of their active members trained in sexual assault scenarios prior to Dakota Days.
“It is a part of (the greek community) standards of excellence, so it’s one of the things they have to do to get the benefits, like the funds and sponsorships,” Anderton said. “So that’s the policy reason we have to do it, we have to do it, if we don’t do it then we are not in compliance of our agreements.”
She said the purpose of these policies is to educate students to mitigate the risks of it happening.
“The reality is it is happening on our campus and it’s not just happening in our Greek community, it is happening across our whole university community,” Anderton said.
The Interfraternity Council is currently working on promises that reiterate the fact that they will not stand for this behavior in their community.
“We talk a lot about how the Greek community has an awesome opportunity to be leaders on our campus and this is one of the areas we can be a leader and say we won’t stand for these kinds of things,” Anderton said. “I think that is one of the really cool things about a community like the Greek community that bonds together, is being able to take a stance on very serious issues that they don’t find acceptable.”
The Hook Up event took place on Monday and Tuesday. The event was piloted last spring and focuses on crowd engagement. It takes the idea of a good hook up compared to a bad hookup and where the line is drawn between a bad hookup and sexual assault.
Baylie Embry, a sophomore secondary math education major, said she attended the event because it was mandatory for her sorority, but she was surprised with how much she enjoyed it.
“Our chapter told us that it was a lot better of a program then it was last year so that kind of got us excited to go,” Embry said “The (speaker) was super funny and entertaining and made the topic not awkward. Hearing it from him just made it something that you can talk about without any judgment or people making fun of it.”
Rachel Hohenstein, a sophomore nursing major and PAVE treasurer, said attending this event because it promotes the same values PAVE promotes.
“PAVE stands for promoting awareness, victim empowerment, we promote consent and we promote safety and victim empowerment, if something happens to you we want to know your story and we want to make sure that you know you are validated and we believe you and that you have these resources,” Hohenstein said.
Hohenstein said she believes all students should be educated on sexual assault and said attending the Hook Up is a good way to start.
“It wasn’t like watching a lecture video or listening to a teacher or parent lecture you,” Hohenstein said. “We have all heard that we all know the rules, but this guy seems more real. He seemed more relatable, he used terms that we would all use. He didn’t beat around the bush, he was real and honest.”
Anderton said she believes this program is more successful than those of the past because it gives students scenarios they can relate to which makes it easier to know what to look for.
“It makes it real and it makes it applicable to their lives,” she said. “When you can sit down and talk about what are the things they see at a party that are negative, it puts into their imagination that things they have seen and things they are experiencing and apply it to their life.”
Although Anderton said she thinks the policies are important, the past programs have not engaged students.
“Our students don’t just need the policies and nuts and bolts of sexual assault, but how it applies to their life and how they can see this in their daily lives and actions,” Anderton said. “I think the Hook Up does a really good job at bridging the gap between application to their life.”