BE(ing) Active in prevention

A new group on campus that focuses on workshops, BE Active, will host its first workshop from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 17 in SMC E-117. The first workshop is for women, specifically first-years, with another workshop for men next weekend.

The “BE” in BE Active stands for Bystander Effectiveness. A team of psychology students at Knox teamed up with Assistant Professor of Psychology Gail Ferguson to put together the workshops, which they hope will continue to be presented on campus for years to come.

In this Saturday’s workshop, the students who have worked with Ferguson will put together scenes that might be similar to scenes at Knox or any other college setting, both at parties and in a study setting, such as a suite area. Students who attend the workshop will be expected to interact with the actors as if it was a real life situation.

“The goal is to let them know what to do as bystanders,” said senior Caitlin Collins, one of the actors in the BE Active team. Ferguson also spoke about how the project got started.

“Last term, the psychology faculty and I initiated it — we put up post-it notes in the women’s bathroom to give women a chance to air their feelings,” she said. In terms of preventing sexual assaults on campus, they then thought together about “what, as a department, could we do?”

Senior Nicole Kirn then approached Ferguson with the idea of a workshop.

“With bystander effect, other people’s reactions to what is going on also affect your actions,” Kirn said.

Ferguson also began talking with Professor of Psychology Tim Kasser.

“He and I both favor prevention,” Ferguson said.

The two of them used a recent project at the University of New Hampshire as a springboard for their workshop ideas.

“I invited several students who completed clinical psychology term,” Ferguson said about how she chose the students who are involved. “We’ve been meeting since the beginning of term.”

The men’s workshop will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, also in SMC E-117. Those who are interested in attending either workshop should email as spaces are limited.

Annie Zak

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