Since 2001, April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Long before then, however, UNH was already getting out in front as a leader among college campuses in its work to prevent sexual assault.
UNH’s SHARPP, which stands for Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, traces its roots back to 1978. SHARPP has evolved its focus to include services and education on issues including relationship abuse and stalking as well as sexual violence.
SHARPP will host the special event Stepping Out Against Violence at UNH on April 13.
The rally and walk is sponsored by SHARPP with support from organizations at UNH and in the local community.
The event will include a 20-minute campus walk, informational tables, a reading of UNH's Community Proclamation Against Violence and a student call-to-action to end violence.
The event is aimed at bringing students, faculty, staff and community members together to stand against all forms of violence on campus.
The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. in front of DeMeritt Hall.
Find out more here.
And UNH has been in the spotlight for its prevention efforts as SHARPP is one of only five college-based crisis centers in the country, and the organization has won Presidents’ Good Steward and President’s Leadership awards from the Campus Compact for New Hampshire, a statewide consortium of college and university presidents and private-sector partners.
“SHARPP is a national model in providing campus-based, confidential services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as outreach and education,” explains Amy Culp, SHARPP’s director.
Kayla Goodwin ’18, a SHARPP community educator and peer advocate, echoes that sentiment.
“Most schools in the United States don't have this type of resource for their students,” she says, noting UNH “acknowledges that sexual assault does happen on college campuses, and we actively take part in prevention efforts.”
Culp notes there are many factors that have helped make SHARPP successful.
“We have very dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in changing the UNH culture to become safer for everyone,” she says, and, “SHARPP has tremendous support from the UNH community.”
To serve UNH students, SHARPP partners with campus organizations including the Counseling Center, Police Department and Health Services.
“SHARPP operates from an empowerment framework in which we make referrals to on-campus and off-campus partners as appropriate for the survivor,” Culp explains. “As for outreach and education, our trainings and presentations are free and available to all UNH departments and agencies.”
Goodwin adds that SHARPP's contact information is on the back of every UNH student's ID, and every first-year student takes part in a SHARPP training during their orientation.
“After that, we are always reaching out to organizations, teams, classes and residence halls to stay in contact with students,” she says. “SHARPP continuously educates students throughout their four years at the University of New Hampshire on ways that they can be active bystanders as well as how to keep themselves safe in potentially dangerous situations.”
“We prepare our students for the real world in a way that most universities don't. And that is why I am extremely proud to work for SHARPP.” — Kayla Goodwin '18
Many campus groups rely on resources from SHARPP.
“We have institutionalized training programs/presentations with athletics and are hoping to do the same with the Greek system in the future,” Culp says, adding SHARPP also works with academic departments as requested. “We welcome partnerships with all.”
Goodwin, who is also a peer academic advisor and the current president of Alpha Phi Omega — UNH's largest student organization dedicated to community service and leadership — says she will continue her work with SHARPP through her final year at UNH next year.
“SHARPP is such an important part of the UNH campus because in a society where survivors are often disregarded, doubted and silenced, we are able to give them a voice and a sense of hope,” Goodwin says. “We welcome survivors of all identities and talk to anyone who needs someone to listen to them, and we will always be on their side. Additionally, SHARPP is one of three confidential resources at UNH, so survivors are able to trust us and feel in control again, something that they may feel has been taken away from them.”