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Dorm Norms begins its second year

First-years to participate in anti-sexual assault programming

<p>Dorm Norms have been presented to new first-year students since the program's implementation in 2015.</p>

Dorm Norms have been presented to new first-year students since the program's implementation in 2015.

After its inaugural year, Dorm Norms — a program presented to first-year students within their first weeks at the University — is entering its second year with updated programming on sexual violence and assault on Grounds.

The program is a collaboration between sexual violence and assault awareness groups One Less and One in Four, as well as Housing and Residence Life.

Jackson Nell, a fourth-year College student and chair of the residence staff program, said the partnership between the groups began last year to start a conversation in first-year communities about proper norms in relationships and sexual behavior.

“As residence staff, our focus is to combat sexual violence and support survivors to ensure we normalize communities where all residents are respected,” Nell said.

Former One in Four President Nick Favaloro, a fourth-year College student, said last year the groups presented to more than 1,200 first-years. Favaloro is currently the group’s public relations chair.

“One of the greatest successes is that Dorm Norms created a space for first-years to ask important questions in an intimate setting,” Favaloro said in an email statement.

The program will continue to focus on having honest and real conversations about relationships and healthy collegiate behavior, Nell said. The presentations begin the within the first month of school — a time frame also known as the “red zone,” when most instances of sexual violence occur.

Favaloro said Dorm Norms had to overcome a number of obstacles that previously prevented a program like it from being instituted.

“First of all, Dorm Norms [brings] a number of different groups together, aligning them all towards one end. This is a difficult task among U.Va. CIOs,” Favaloro said. “Second, the target audience pool is ambitious. It is a daunting undertaking to present to every first-year residence hall.”

The program emphasizes peer-to-peer interaction where presenters “don’t talk down to [participants] — they talk to residents as fellow students,” Nell said.

Favaloro said this year’s program has been revamped and adapted to include more information and clarify the University policy on definitions of consent and assault.

“We also have incorporated more hands-on activities to encourage participation [and] streamlined communication between the prevention groups and HRL,” Favaloro said.

One Less President Hannah Shadowen, a fourth-year College student, said this year the program is doing surveys for all students following the conversations.

Current One in Four President Yash Shevde, a fourth-year College student, said the presentations focus on topics that are not covered elsewhere for incoming students in order to reduce repetition.

“For instance, organizations like Green Dot are doing great work regarding the topic of bystander intervention so while we will address it, we won’t go into it again in as much depth as we will for Survivor Support, for example, about which the first-years haven’t heard as much,” Shevde said in an email statement.

Shadowen said conversation is focused on consent, healthy relationships, abuse, bystander intervention and supporting survivors.

“It will be very much driven by the interest, comments or questions of the students,” Shadowen said in an email statement. “For example, we will be discussing strategies to actually ask for consent in an intimate setting or asking how you show your partner that you love them.”

Nell said the program is designed to be educational and reflective.

“I really think this program helps cultivate a lot of healthy conversations,” Nell said.

Correction: This article previously listed Yash Shevde as a third-year student.