+IMPACT, a new student group on the Augustana Campus, wants to do just that: make an impact on the campus. The group meets every other week to discuss sexual health, safety and bystander intervention creating a safe and all-inclusive space on campus.
+IMPACT wants to encourage open dialogue among students regarding sexual health, sexual assault, and healthy relationships through educational meetings and campaigns to create a safer campus. The group also serves as a safe space for survivors and bystanders to seek information, support, and resources.
The group’s founder and president is Natalie Trujillo, a senior, Psychology, Sociology, and WGS major. She said, “When you think [about] sexual assault, you’re probably thinking [about] something violent, graphic, and something horrible. It can be someone catcalling you. It can be someone grabbing you, groping you. It can be the act of someone having sex with you without your permission.”
The trained executive board of the group focuses on educating students to prevent misinformation, fear, and doubt when reporting, and will try to provide support during that process.
Trujillo created +IMPACT after a study abroad trip to India in which she decided she couldn’t stand by any longer. She was inspired by Project Save, a previous club on campus that focused mostly on sexual assault, but her new idea encompasses a broader and more comprehensive view on the situation. The group intends to host informal classes during club meetings including games, trivia, and trained guest speakers. +IMPACT hopes to be able to record the sessions to be viewed by people who miss or don’t yet feel comfortable attending a meeting. Another hope is to establish a student advocacy program which trains students through Family Resources, a social service and support organization in the Quad Cities, not only to work with survivors in the community but with on-campus cases. This way, student advocate would be able to provide support, information, and guidance to a victim at Augustana.
Jaime McLean, a senior with a WGS major and Public Health minor, is the sexual health chair of the group, and a medical advocate with Family Resources. “[People] still have a lot of myths that they may have gotten from their sex Ed class or their peers or their family and, for some folks, that can be silencing,” said McLean. Misinformation can perpetrate not only sexual assault and rape but also shame by part of the survivors. According to Guttmacher Institute, in the United States, only 13 states require that their sexual education is medically accurate.
“If you get a lot of the faculty involved, and a lot of the administration involved, if enough students get together and decide ‘this is something that we want’, I think change can be created,” said Trujillo.
The group attended Symposium Day last spring and participated in Take Back the Night, an event put on to empower people to walk freely and safely at night. The group also intends to host campaigns during each term. This fall their sexual health campaign will be focusing on sexual education, contraceptives, sex safety, and STDs. In the winter they will start their bystander intervention campaign to empower students to intervene safely and confidently in a sexual assault situation. Finally, this spring is their sexual assault campaign to raise awareness on how to handle such situations, such as the steps a victim or bystander can take, where to go, and where to find support.
+IMPACT meets every other Tuesday at 7:00pm in room 310 in Old Main. Natalie Trujillo is the President. Jaime McLean is the Sexual Health chair. Caleb Vidad, a junior at Augustana, is the LGBTQ+ chair. Shannon Flynn and Lex Smith, both seniors, are Public Relations representatives, and Madison Kinder, a senior, is the group’s secretary.