U-M earns national awards for sexual assault, alcohol prevention efforts


The University of Michigan has been recognized for its work in the areas of sexual assault prevention and alcohol abuse prevention by a national organization dedicated to creating safer, healthier campus communities.

The Campus Prevention Network, a nationwide initiative of more than 1,700 institutions, presented U-M with two Prevention Excellence Awards during its annual summit June 8 in New Orleans.

This is the first year an institution has been recognized for its work in both the sexual assault prevention and alcohol abuse prevention categories.

“Addressing high-risk drinking and sexual assault on campus is important and challenging work,” said Mary Jo Desprez, director of Wolverine Wellness. “It cannot be done in silos. This award acknowledges the community and campus effort to work together to help create an environment where every student can thrive.”

Through a comprehensive, public health approach, U-M utilizes various programs and efforts to promote well-being and reduce harm. One example is the Community Matters programs, which are required for all first-year students and provide online and in-person learning opportunities about alcohol and other drugs, sexual assault, healthy relationships, bystander intervention and campus policies and resources.

The programs have been shown to increase students’ knowledge and shift attitudes about sexual assault and alcohol abuse.

Another university effort is the Stay in the Blue campaign, which utilizes a mobile app to help individuals who choose to drink better understand the relationship between blood-alcohol content and harm.

Others include the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students, the U-M Collegiate Recovery Program and the Raise the Bar program, a partnership between the university’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center and more than 20 local bars and restaurants which trains staff on bystander intervention in potentially harmful situations.

Student volunteers and student staff at SAPAC actively engage in sexual violence prevention work on campus by providing workshops, coordinating dialogues, hosting events, bringing speakers to campus and more.

“These awards remind us that our work to create healthy and safe communities takes intention, dedication and collaboration,” says Kaaren Williamsen, director of SAPAC. “Our partnerships throughout Student Life, and collaborations with students, student organizations, faculty, staff and community partners are key to making sure our programs are effective and responsive to the needs of our campus.”

To be eligible for the awards, U-M completed comprehensive, evidence-informed assessments of prevention programs and practices in both areas.

Awardees were selected based on inventory scores, Campus Prevention Network staff interviews with campus professionals and a review of each institution’s effort.

“As campuses continue to strengthen and expand their work to address sexual assault and alcohol abuse, the Prevention Excellence Award winners exemplify the very best of what’s possible,” said Rob Buelow, vice president of prevention education for EVERFI, an education technology company that founded the Campus Prevent Network.

Of the 133 colleges and universities that have completed the sexual assault inventory and the 112 that have completed the alcohol inventory, fewer than 10 percent earned the distinction of being a Prevention Excellence Award honoree.


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