Isabelle Talkington, Northwest’s new wellness educator, is mainly focused on the Engage Violence Prevention Training, but is also working on preparations for future events and awareness months.
Future projects that Talkington will be involved in include Domestic Violence Awareness Month, sexual assault awareness month, the clothesline project, take back the night and more. Education and intersectionality are vital factors to this program.
Talkington said that her position and the Engage program wants to teach about campus violence. The Engage program also highly focuses on how substances, bias, discrimination, mental well-being and interpersonal violence intersect.
Generation Z is a huge source of excitement for Talkington in taking over this position. Talkington attended a webinar about Gen Z, and this gave her a positive outlook on her generation.
“We are gonna stand up for the things that we care about,” Talkington said. “We’re not gonna sit by and let things happen. Students want to see changes happen. They want to see our society continue to improve, and that’s really encouraging for me throughout this role.”
Talkington referenced 2021’s Missouri Assessment of College Health Behaviors. This survey allows Missouri college students to express their thoughts on how mental health problems, substances and personal violence by those in power affect their well-being. This survey further proved Talkington’s belief in Gen Z’s crave for change.
“Around 92% of students say that they would want someone to do something if they thought that they were gonna be harmed by another person,” Talkington said. “And 86% of students strongly agree or agree that they have a responsibility to the safety of others. I mean, that’s really promising. And so I think that’s been very encouraging about this job.”
After an optional online introductory module, Engage has overview training. This overview training gives the trainee example scenarios of the four sections: interpersonal violence, bias and discrimination, alcohol and other drugs and mental well-being. With each example scenario, the training gives the trainee the basic information for each section. The fall 2023 semester will have more in-depth trainings for each section.
The C.A.R.E.S. acronym, which stands for: create a distraction, act directly, refer to a helpful resource, enlist others or stop and act later, can be used to help prevent violence in everyday life.
Other than C.A.R.E.S., Talkington said that one can be aware, trust their gut when it says to let someone know that something happened or to be vocal about something. She said other simple things one can do to prevent violence include stopping someone else's argument by breaking the tension, stopping any bigoted jokes or making sure everyone is OK in a different room if you hear a ton of yelling. Students may also contact Talkington to learn how to become a facilitator and bring change to campus.
“Be the person that you want others to be in this community,” Talkington said. “What do you need to feel safe? And how can you do that for other students?”
Talkington said the Engage program also focuses on not shaming people, but rather educating people on how to be a more active preventer in the future. Someone’s own safety is also important to keep in mind when preventing violence.
“But of course, make sure you’re safe,” Talkington said. “If you haven’t acted in the past, that’s definitely OK. You need to (know), how we can be better in the future. You have to do what is comfortable for you and what’s safe for you.”
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