College Loses YWCA Grant

Alexandra Fosbury ’21, Life & Style Editor

Dickinson College and the Carlisle Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) have established a close, collaborative relationship through a grant from the United States Department of Education. Despite not receiving the grant this year, the college plans to continue developing education and awareness about sexual assault.

Dickinson College applied for the grant through the Department of Education two years ago and received the grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the It’s On Us program. The college successfully received the grant for a second time last year but did not receive the grant for a third year. Despite this, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Inclusivity Brenda Bretz is not concerned about the progress Dickinson and the YWCA have made thus far. 

“We were fortunate to receive the grant for two consecutive terms, as there are many other institutions applying for the grant some of which have not yet received the grant…we were not surprised when we did not receive it for a third time, as we have seen success in the programs we have developed and delivered,” she said.

According to Bretz, the grants previously received helped fund a variety of programs including materials for Step Up! which educates students on bystander intervention. On campus, the Step Up! model has been used with student athletes as well as first-year students to educate everyone on how to report and recognize instances of sexual assault or misconduct.

“These grants provided funding for us to develop sustainable models which we have seen succeed and grow, and we are currently expanding to other areas including Greek Life,” added Bretz.

The grant also allowed Dickinson to establish relationships with local organizations such as YWCA Carlisle Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services and Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties. 

Initiatives on Dickinson’s campus such as the confidential 24/7 Dickinson YWCA Sexual Assault Hotline and advocacy hours on-campus from the YWCA were established with the grant. Even though Dickinson will no longer be receiving this particular grant, Bretz explained that these programs, and others started through the grant, will not be stopped. 

“While the grants provided a foundation from which to build strong partnerships and purchase evidence-based national programs, we will continue to do this work as due to the grant we have developed sustainable models for our campus.  We will also consider ways to expand this work, and listen to our campus community to re-design programs that are relevant to our needs,” Bretz said.

According to the website, It’s On Us is a statewide campaign that aims to encourage community participation from across Pennsylvania to end sexual assault.