Mathew Hall, the assistant director of Health Promotion, was recently awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention Award by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA).
Hall was recognized with the award during the annual NASPA conference in Los Angeles, a global gathering of student affairs educators who are passionate about critical higher education issues, attended by over 8,000 educators and professionals.
“Doing sexual assault prevention work is challenging and requires a lot of emotional labor sometimes,” Hall said. “It’s nice to have our work recognized and to learn that the impact is real, and is improving our students’ lives, even if it’s just in small ways.”
Hall said he received the award because of his contributions in reimagining and expanding “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” a day-long event that is part of a year-long series of awareness events called “A Mile Together.”
Previously, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” was a one-day event used to raise awareness against power-based violence that impact the OHIO community and society; however, with “A Mile Together,” students are able to expand their knowledge about sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention and other initiatives throughout the entire year.
The events also strive to be more ability and gender inclusive. “It is important for us to be intentional and inclusive in our programming, as we know violence impacts our LGBTQIA students, our students with disabilities and our male students,” Hall said. “Bystander intervention is a community-based solution to violence on our campuses, and we need everyone to have a seat at the table – including groups who have historically been marginalized and silenced.”
Other prominent programs addressing the issue of sexual violence include arts-based survivor supportive programs like the 2017 viewing of the Monument Quilt, the 2018 “What Were You Wearing” survivor art installation, and the upcoming “Through the Survivor’s Lens” gallery exhibit. The programs are collaborative efforts spearheaded by the Women’s Center, the Survivor Advocacy Program, and Health Promotion – in addition to many co-sponsors.
Additionally, many peer education programs during the year address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence. The Better Bystanders and Power/Gamma provide peer-delivered educational programs addressing sexual violence, bystander intervention and consent to campus constituents during the course of the year.
“Research shows that students often turn to their peers for information regarding wellbeing, including consent, and much of our programming success depends on the involvement of our peer educators who are role modeling positive behavior and norming bystander intervention,” said Hall.
“This award reminds me of why I do this work,” Hall said. “Ultimately this award is not about me; it’s for the students and wouldn’t be possible without their contributions.”
The transition from a week-long “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to a year-long series of events and programming through “A Mile Together” also allows for a greater number of people to participate since people can show their support by attending a variety of events throughout the year, rather than participating for just one evening.
“We’ve done really well in unrolling prevention programs that match the needs of our students, faculty and staff” Hall said. “Winning this award gives us the opportunity to keep doing more of that great work and gives us opportunities for further growth because there’s always more work to be done.”