Big grant continues awareness, prevention programs around sexual violence

Heidelberg University has been awarded a second $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will continue to address the issues of sexual assault, dating / domestic violence and stalking on campus. The grant authors are project coordinator Ronee Rice and Dr. Marjorie Shavers, director of Heidelberg’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) Program.

“With so much uncertainty and the added challenges of promoting a safe and healthy campus during the pandemic, the announcement of this grant gives us all something to celebrate,” Ronee said. “We’re excited to continue this very important work at Heidelberg.”          

The original grant, awarded in 2017 and housed in the MAC program, gave Heidelberg the opportunity to establish the Center for Survivor Empowerment. This initiative was led by Rice and the new office was officially established in the fall of 2019. The main goal of Heidelberg’s Center for Survivor Empowerment is to provide resources, advocacy and awareness – and ultimately, prevention – for everyone, regardless of gender. 

“The original grant award improved our campus by expanding the outreach and prevention activities, developing the Heidelberg Interactive Theatre First Year Training experience, supporting It’s on Us initiatives and implementing the Green Dot strategy,” Ronee explained.

The main purpose of the additional funding will be to embolden the work that has been conducted through the Center for Survivor Empowerment to change the culture on campus and both support and empower survivors. The center will be also moving into Heidelberg’s Student Affairs Division to provide better opportunities for collaboration and to increase accessibility of the services offered to all students.

Ronee noted that Heidelberg is one of a few schools across the nation that was awarded the $300,000 grant from DOJ which will provide funding for an additional three years.

The grant funding also will provide a new position on campus dedicated to providing advocacy and counseling services for survivors.  The center will continue to collaborate with the Theater Department to continue developing training, expand educational programming aimed at reducing incidents of sexual assault, dating / domestic violence, and continue Green Dot and It’s on Us awareness initiatives. 

Heidelberg is looking forward to continued partnerships with the Tiffin Police Department and Seneca County Victim Services, and a developing partnership with Sisters in Shelter.

Ronee and Marjorie expressed their appreciation for the contributions to the grant application and recognized that this was a team effort. Colleagues across campus helped to write this grant including Chris Abrams, Margaret Rudolph, Janelle Baldosser, John Sharp, Jeff Rhoades and Joel Wilkins. MAC students were also involved in the grant writing process and invaluable members of our team: Mo Stohlman, Morgan Spradlin and Courtney Hughes-Ksenish, all of whom graduated in 2020.    

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