The Wellness Center has been working on a project called Expect Respect, which will hopefully be fully unveiled and implemented in the next year or two. Expect Respect would educate first years about interpersonal violence, its roots, and its prevention. The project came out of work being done by the Consent and Sexual Respect Initiative, a group of Administrators, Staff, and student representatives that focus on a public health approach to sexual violence prevention for the entirity of St. Olaf campus.
Associate Director of Wellness and Health Promotions Jenny Ortiz ’15, Social Work Intern Jensen Espiritu ’22, and four Wellness Center sexual respect peer educators have been working on this project for the past year. The idea came up last fall, and the four students were hired in January. Expect Respect would be six informational training sessions for first years to attend as part of their required training for St. Olaf. Topics include intersectionality, masculinity, sex education, and more. The six hours are filled with videos, role-plays, and other interactive experiences as well as presentation.
“We are trying to build that community value of respecting each other,” Sarah Giovannozzi ’23 said. Giovannozzi has been working on the presentation for the sessions, a whopping total of more than 120 slides altogether, for almost a year at this point. “It’s a big issue on college campuses nationwide,” Giovannozzi said. “We’re trying to do all that we can.”
Expect Respect is going through a workshop period this semester and interim, with the first weekend being Dec. 4-5. An intern will be hired during interim to work on improving the sessions for the spring test sessions. The project will be brought before the faculty in the spring to get approval, and Expect Respect is planning implementation for fall 2022.