Student to create sexual assault education program

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Allie Lahey is using her last few months as a student to create a “blueprint” for campus change.

With the help of an organization called Young People For, Lahey is working to create conversation on campus about sexual assault and consent.

Young People For is a one-year fellowship program for about 150 youths per year who are interested in affecting social change through creating a sustainable project, said Andrew Humphrey, fellowship association representative for Young People For.

Lahey applied for the program in April 2013 and is beginning to work with the University Drug, Alcohol and Sexual Offenses Coalition to work on a sexual assault education program for first-year students.

“I think it’s really important because students don’t get comprehensive sex education at a high school level, so I think it’s important we do it at a college level,” Lahey said about her blueprint.

Young People For is helping Lahey progress as a leader, gain skills and improve herself as a leader in the community and on campus, she said.

“I really like the fact that I get to connect with other young people,” she said. “Young people are really innovative and creative with activism so I really value their input.”

The Young People For fellowship accepts college-aged individuals and matches them up with a mentor who helps them with self-development, leadership ability and their blueprint ideas, Humphrey said.

Sara Conner, Lahey’s mentor, is 23 and was a 2011 Young People For fellow. The two have never met, as Conner lives in California, but they talk regularly through texts, phone calls and emails.

“I think Allie’s done a really impeccable job of figuring out what’s lacking on campus,” Conner said.

Lahey is trying to create an education program to educate students about sexual assault. The program may be on the computer or implemented in-person, but she wants to create something sustainable that every student is required to do, she said.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2013 may also play into Lahey’s work. The act states that campuses must implement “primary prevention and awareness programs regarding sexual misconduct,” according to campussaveact.org.

Lahey wants to see what is happening with the act and find out how students can have a say in it, she said.

This isn’t Lahey’s first run-in with trying to cause social change; she’s the president of Feminists Organization Raising Consciousness and Empowerment on campus, a student journalist for Choice USA, she’s taking classes, doing homework, working as an intern and trying to create broad change on campus through the fellowship.

One reason Lahey was selected as a fellow was because her ability to look at things “through an intersectional lens,” Humphrey said.

“[She can look at] other issues and how they all impact and effect reproductive health and justice and women’s rights,” he said.

Lahey’s leadership abilities are also part of the reason she got the fellowship, Humphrey said.

“Allie was a standout leader,” he said. “[She is] a leader among other leaders on her campus … she’s definitely very passionate about the work she does.”

Passion is part of the reason Andrew Jenkins, an associate with national pro-choice organization Choice USA, nominated Lahey.

Jenkins works with Lahey in her capacity as a student journalist with Choice USA and noticed she’s “not only really intelligent, but also really passionate.”

Lahey graduates in May, but will be in Bowling Green until August working on her blueprint.

*The Young People For fellowship is open to college-aged individuals. For more information, visit Young People For’s website at http://www.youngpeoplefor.org/.