University Debuts Sorority Ally Program

Madeline Diamond, News Editor

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After piloting a Fraternity Ally Program last year and expanding the program last semester, Speak UP Bucknell has created an equivalent program for sororities in order to combat the prevalence of sexual assault on campus.

According to the University website, representatives from Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Xi Delta have already been trained and hold the title of Sorority Ally.

Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator Padma Ravichandran has worked with members of Speak UP and Sorority and Fraternity Affairs to create this program. Greek-affiliated students are able to apply to be a part of ally training by contacting Speak UP.  The seven-week training program will teach students about bystander intervention, sexual objectification, sexual attitudes, and other issues regarding sexual violence.

“We also have sessions focused on the Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy and how to support a survivor. There is also time dedicated to helping participants practice talking to a brother or sister about the topics discussed in training so they feel more comfortable, should a situation arise,” Ravichandran said.

Ravichandran also noted that the program has been a success so far, for both fraternities and sororities.

“I think the students who have participated in the training so far have learned a lot and gained a new perspective on society and our community. Students who participate in the training learn to think about their surroundings more critically and can better recognize language and behavior that may be problematic,” Ravichandran said.

After the two successful pilot programs, Speak UP will now run two concurrent Fraternity Ally Training sessions as well as two Sorority Ally Training sessions.

“I decided to join the ally program because I’m passionate about women’s rights, and Women’s and Gender Studies is one of my two majors. I was looking forward to meetings with sorority members from different organizations to discuss issues that are extremely prevalent on our campus. More often than not people are intimidated to come forward about sexual assault and I wanted to receive the training to be a voice to those victims,” Sorority Ally Emma Shimony ’17 said.

Ravichandran said that one of the goals of the program is to better understand the issue of sexual violence both on and off campus.

“The more students who are empowered to practice positive bystander behavior and challenge inappropriate language and behavior, the more likely we are to end sexual violence,”Ravichandran said. Students interested in participating may contact speakup@bucknell.edu for more information.

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