This semester, John Carroll University began requiring first-year students to attend bystander intervention seminars to educate them about students’ mental, physical and emotional well-being. This series of one-hour informational sessions aim at addressing these topics, giving advice on how to handle these situations when they arise. First-year students must complete this program in order to register for on-campus housing for the following academic year.
It is wise for the University to address these topics with its newest students in the hopes of creating a safer campus. Although the program’s efforts are on the right track, they can be further developed. For example, the lecture-based seminar needs to be done away with and replaced with more interactive activities such as role playing, focus groups and games. This will ensure that students retain the information rather than having it go in one ear and out the other.
Additionally, many students and organizations feel strongly about these issues on campus. Each group already stages its own initiatives to combat physical, mental and emotional hardships. By working together, groups such as the Violence Prevention and Action Center, the student-run organization Take Back the Night and the Counseling Center will effectively unite the student body by creating a relevant message.
A lecture format is not enough to ensure a significant impact. Interacting with first-year students is the only way to directly propel the student body into a safe and secure future.