Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Breaking the Silence Against Violence

By Bradley Whitsell
Residence Life Complex Director, Northwest Missouri State University

Violence of all kinds surrounds our campus and communities every single day and it is time speak out against this violence and teach our students how they can impact their campus and possibly save a life.  In the past years two years I have done several presentations at conferences and residence halls about violence prevention. In each presentation almost every person in the room raised their hand to the question, “How many of you know of someone that has been involved in some sort of act of violence?” .

The students that raised their hands are walking around our campuses, living in our residence halls, eating in our cafeterias and leading our student organizations. This is why it is important for professionals to be the example and help educate students about violence prevention.   Below are some tips, pointers, and suggestions I have learned over the years on developing an effective violence prevention program.  Hopefully these tips can help you can have similar presentations on your campus if they are not happening already.
  • Collaboration- I developed a good relationship with counselors, health educators and professors from the psychology department to help with the presentation.
  • Resources- Tell students about all the resources they have on their campus and how to gain access to them.
  • Personal Stories- Personal stories are very powerful and can be effective, however the person needs to be comfortable sharing.  I share a couple personal stories of my own and it’s the most effective part of the presentation.
  • Relative- I use a popular song by Eminem to not only relate to the students and start meaningful conversations, but show the pattern of domestic violence through lyrics.
  • Prevention Tools- I talk about a few prevention tools that students can use anywhere they are to stop violent acts. I then give scenarios so they can practice what they have learned.
  • Show you care- Believe it or not, we actually do care about our students!  Make sure your students know that you care and want them to be safe and successful not only in their college career but in their life.

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