SAPAC expanding reach, doubling student volunteers


October kicks off the University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center’s annual student volunteer training, where this year more than 75 students will prepare to help prevent sexual misconduct on campus.

For more than 35 years, SAPAC has served Ann Arbor students, faculty and staff by offering prevention education, confidential support for survivors, and collaborating with other offices to offer trainings, programs and community engagement opportunities to promote a campus free from sexual violence.


This year, SAPAC will partner with the newly created Prevention, Education, Assistance and Resources, which provides sexual and gender-based misconduct prevention, training and resources for faculty and staff. Programming specifics are expected to be announced later in the year. PEAR is part of the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.

“We are excited to build on the success of our student programming by partnering with PEAR to help develop resources unique to the U-M faculty and staff population,” said Anne Huhman, interim director of SAPAC.

“Our growing team of student staff and volunteers will continue prevention efforts for students to promote healthy relationships, teach bystander intervention skills, and raise awareness about how to support survivors — all which are critical elements for moving the needle in a positive direction and promoting culture change on our campus.”

SAPAC currently provides a range of supportive services to U-M students, faculty, and staff who have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual harassment and gender-based harassment. Available support includes:

  • Crisis intervention and support.
  • Medical advocacy.
  • Academic advocacy.
  • Reporting and investigation support.
  • Safety planning. 
  • Housing advocacy.
  • Referrals.

SAPAC also serves supporters of survivors by providing guidance on how friends, family members and others can support the survivor in their life.

Each year, SAPAC organizes dozens of events, discussions and workshops available to the U-M community.

SAPAC’s student-volunteer programs are in addition to three peer-led support groups, 25 student staff and 11 professional staff members. The new volunteers are in addition to the 75 existing student volunteers and will double the total number of SAPAC student volunteers to 150.

Following their 20-hour training throughout October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, students can select one of the following five peer-to-peer volunteer programs to be a part of:

  • Bystander Intervention and Community Engagement focuses on intervening in harmful situations to help minimize the impact of that harm. It teaches students bystander intervention skills and ways to intervene and support someone.
  • Survivor Empowerment and Ally Support creates healing, supportive and empowering spaces for survivors through increased awareness of survivor experiences and helping students build skills to support survivors effectively through their healing process.
  • Consent, Outreach and Relationship Education aims to create respectful communities that practice consent and healthy communication within relationships including romantic, platonic and peer relationships.
  • Michigan Men hosts trainings and dialogues on wellness, harm prevention and building values-driven communities from a positive-masculinity framework.
  • Graduate Research, Outreach, Workshops and Evaluation focuses on providing prevention education and skill-building opportunities for students who serve in the unique role as graduate students on campus and in the classroom.

Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.