Seniors Connect With FUTURES Without Violence Cohort
Nicole Smith and Megan Beine, both senior gender, women’s, and sexuality studies (GWSS) students at EWU, were recently among a select group of U.S. students who participated in a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the FUTURES Without Violence cohort and program organizers.
FUTURES, an organization that works to end violence against women and children around the world, has been providing groundbreaking programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations for more than three decades.
“It was really inspiring to know that the program we’d been working with was backed by such intelligent and hard-working individuals. They all care deeply about making impactful policy change and that was very apparent the more we spoke with them,” Smith says.
Smith and Beine were accepted into the FUTURES 2022-23 Campus Leadership Program, last year.
“This trip helped me to realize truly how big FUTURES is as an organization and the ways in which they address all kinds of violence issues and movements, much more than just sexual and domestic violence,” Smith says.
The Health Program chose a small group of undergraduate students after a competitive national application process. This select group of students was invited to participate in an annual fellowship that seeks to develop the students’ leadership capacity, particularly their abilities to respond to and help prevent sexual and intimate partner violence on college campuses.
Both students are passionate about their career paths. “I believe that education and accessibility to resources is vital when thinking about these issues, particularly when addressing how best to prevent sexual assault and dating violence,” Beine says.
During the academic year 2022-23, Smith and Beine joined the other campus leadership fellows from across the country to receive regular guidance and mentorship from FUTURES staff, as well as to gain access to campus-specific prevention materials and resources.
“This program has helped me grow in multiple areas, from creating and hosting presentations to meeting with community organizers and resources,” Beine says. “It has forced me to take a lot of initiative in ways I would not have understood or known how to do otherwise and has made me far more confident in my leadership skills and knowledge.”
The Campus Leadership Program is also a scholarship program for the selected students.
“It is an honor to have [our students]chosen for this national scholarship and leadership opportunity in the field of prevention of domestic and sexual violence on campus,” says Deborah Svoboda, graduate program director, associate professor of social work, and affiliated faculty of gender and women’s sexuality studies. “Way to go, Megan and Nicole!”