EverFi Attends White House Event: Protecting Students from Sexual Assault

The higher education airways are abuzz with activity resulting from this week’s release of recommendations from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault (WHTF). The Task Force, commissioned in January by President Obama, has connected with thousands of key stakeholders to gather insights on the challenges and opportunities facing campuses in an effort to provide practical instructions for colleges to identify, prevent, and respond to sexual assault.

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Vice President Joe Biden with survivor, Madeline Smith, a student at Harvard University, who shared her story at the White House Event on April 29th, 2014

Over the past few months, EverFi, along with Campus SaVE Act rule-makers and proponents, has engaged with the Task Force to help provide a framework of best practices and sexual assault prevention standards.  We were honored to join Vice President Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, at the White House yesterday to champion their efforts.

During his impassioned plea for men to get more involved in the fight against sexual assault, the Vice President shared the “1 is 2 Many” public service announcement.  The spot features Hollywood actors Benicio del Toro, Daniel Craig, Steve Carell, Seth Myers and Dulé Hill joining President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden to encourage men to be an active part of ending sexual assault. 

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Male celebs help White House stop sexual assault

Key Resources:

In our effort to support campuses, we’ve pulled together many of the key documents and materials that have been released in the past month as the result of the White House Task Force and VAWA rule-making:

  • 1 is 2 Many PSA – White House public service announcement urging men to get involved in the fight against sexual assault

 

  • Not Alone – The first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault

 

  • NotAlone.gov – a new web resource launched in connection with the White House Task Force

 

 

 

  • Bystander Intervention Fact Sheet – a review of the core components, delivery methods, and challenges of this important aspect of prevention (including reference to EverFi’s Haven program

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for partnerships with local rape crisis centers – these vital community-based organizations can provide critical assistance and support for victim services and prevention

 

 

 

  • Title IX FAQs – questions and answers on Title IX and sexual violence, released by the Department of Education to provide additional guidance to schools concerning their obligations under this legislation

 

A Personalized Approach to Alcohol & Other Drug Education

Are your children prepared for college?

Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Social Pressure. Not everyone drinks, uses drugs, or succumbs to social pressures when they are in college. But some kids do.  Do you want your children to be prepared to deal with these issues? To have the knowledge to make the right decisions when they are faced with situations in which alcohol is all around them and they are being pressured to participate or their “new” best friend is in a precarious situation and they don’t know how to help them? I would.

AEDU1_newAs a parent, I am thankful that EverFi has developed a product that helps prepare the millions of students who are starting their college career to make smart choices and decisions around alcohol.  Even more importantly, as a member of EverFi’s product team, I have the responsibility of ensuring that our course continues to provide college students with the right information to be successful during this important phase of their academic career.

Population level alcohol education has been our focus at EverFi for thirteen years and we’re incredibly proud to be partnered with 550 colleges and universities across the country.  During that time, AlcoholEdu for College™  has grown into the largest online course in higher education with over 4 million student completions – including 550,000 this academic year alone.

Consistently evolving AlcoholEdu to leverage prevention best practices and to meet the needs of campuses is a core part of our focus and that’s why we’re truly excited about the upcoming launch of a significantly enhanced AlcoholEdu.  A key focus has been enhancing the student experience and the interactions within the course.  We’ve designed the course  to addresses a wide spectrum of students and to provide personalized pathways based on attitudes and behaviors that will resonate with today’s college students.

What’s critical about our focus is that we don’t assume that every college student drinks.  In fact, we know that a significant portion of the student population doesn’t consume alcohol. To ensure that ALL students have a chance to benefit from our course and absorb information tailored specifically to their own experience, we provide multiple pathways for students to move through our course.  Whether they are abstainers, moderate drinkers or heavy drinkers, each student receives relevant content, personalized feedback and practical strategies that are appropriate for their needs.

There are a number of courses in the market today that start with the assumption that every student drinks alcohol and is sexually active.  This type of “one size fits all” messaging is dangerous as it could drive abstainers to either adopt riskier behaviors or to make them feel alienated.  This alienation impacts their college experience and may lead to increased transfers and/or dropouts.   In short, if you are sending a child who doesn’t drink to college, do you want the college to provide education that sends a message that they will not fit in unless they drink?

AlcoholEdu doesn’t talk down to students, use scare tactics or flippant language to get their attention.  We provide a straightforward, fact-based, mature experience that is respectful of the situations that we know students face and the decisions they will need to make.

Having the opportunity to improve a course that millions of students have completed has been a tremendous experience.   As we get closer to launch, we’ll share more updates on the completely new AlcoholEdu for College.  In the interim, ask the Dean of Students of your college or your children’s college if they’re using AlcoholEdu.

 

A Positive Path Forward in Sexual Assault Prevention

With the passage of the Campus SaVE Act in 2013, and the recent establishment of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, the issue of sexual assault is gaining much-deserved national attention. EverFi’s online sexual assault prevention course, Haven, addresses the critical issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking, and reaches over 400,000 students a year. Our online solution sets students on a positive path forward and helps colleges and universities meet the federal mandates of the Campus SaVE Act.

Our Haven research has shown that most students have healthy behaviors and attitudes when it comes to sexual assault, and prevention education helps strengthen and reinforce those beliefs.  Throughout the Haven course, students are engaged and empowered to help build the communities they want to live in, and to help maintain a positive path forward for their campus.

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Haven – Understanding Sexual Assault™ Infographic

On Leadership: EY’s Mark Weinberger

The EverFi crew is feeling incredibly inspired after a visit from EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger, who stopped by our offices this morning for a breakfast meet-and-greet.

Here are a few words of wisdom that he shared:

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1. Focus on soft skills. EY hires incredibly bright and talented individuals. In fact, their people are their greatest asset. But even the sharpest MBAs can lack the skills that will make them successful in business.  Relationship-building, listening skills, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurial thinking, and other critical life skills are essential.

2. Listen more. You’re not learning if you’re the one doing all the talking.

3. Take time to explain WHY. Organizational change happens slowly, especially within larger companies, but if your employees understand why changes are being made, then they will be more inclined to hop on board. Open communication is key to effectively managing change and staying innovative. EY employees listen to their clients on a daily basis and learn from them (again, listening skills!).

4. Schedule downtime. As work demands more and more of our time, it’s incredibly important to manage your free time. Don’t let leisure be the last thing you get to after everything else is done. Schedule it. Quality time with family and friends is restorative and essential to being your best at work.

5. Think globally. EY has more than 700 offices across 150 countries. What happens in Japan, or Russia, or Ukraine impacts everyone.  If you run a business that has offices in multiple locations, know what’s going on in each of those locations. It will make you a better leader.

It was great to hear Mark validate the work EverFi is doing to arm students with critical skills that will prepare them to be successful in life. While EY and EverFi are different in many ways, we share a commitment to the EY mission of “building a better working world.”

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EverFi CEO Tom Davidson Featured on Bloomberg TV

On Wednesday, April 8, EverFi CEO Tom Davidson served as a guest host on Bloomberg’s Surveillance television program.   In the midst of Financial Literacy Month, you bet we were excited to have Tom talking about the importance of financial education and empowerment.

Tom BloombergA key point that Tom brought up was that engaging students early with financial education can have a long-lasting impact on their future actions and behaviors.  This was echoed in the results of a 65,000 student survey that we partnered with HigherOne on recently.

The survey found that students who took a financial education class in high school performed better on the survey’s financial knowledge questions, were found to be more averse to debt, more likely to pay credit card bills on time, and less likely to go over their credit limit.  Those with some financial education also displayed superior levels of knowledge and conscientiousness around money.  The survey report is available at http://moneymattersoncampus.org/

Tom’s Bloomberg interview is available here.

Financial Literacy

Evolving Financial Literacy Into Financial Empowerment

It’s April, which means your mind is probably on three things: warmer weather, filing your taxes and financial literacy.

Okay, maybe you’re not focused on the last one.

So now you know: there’s an entire month focused on finances.  But just how impactful is a single month dedicated to financial literacy?

Financial literacy means exactly what you think it does: it’s the ability to understand how money works in the world.  It’s about knowing how money is earned, managed, saved, invested…but that’s where the word “literacy” falls short.  Literacy implies memorization and the ability to read and write on paper. Literacy is about information and it lacks the critical aspect of the application and the necessary change in attitudes and behavior to make a difference.  And that’s why we need to evolve Financial Literacy Month.

Financial literacy and financial education are an absolutely necessary foundation to creating a generation of smart, savvy money managers.  It’s the equivalent to driver’s Ed – before hopping behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to have some knowledge and training under your belt.  But when it comes to changing behavior, what matters most isn’t just the information.  What matters are things like a sense of self-efficacy, a feeling of confidence that you know what you’re doing and the ability to apply those lessons in the real world – to get behind the wheel and put that knowledge into action.

That’s where the idea of financial empowerment comes in. Unlike basic financial literacy tools, financial empowerment strategies don’t just educate: they empower, embolden and equip someone to make long-lasting changes in their life. They turn information into action.

A shift toward financial empowerment means a shift from memorization and information overload to action-oriented and simulated application. And that’s very different than just “literacy.”

So as we think about Financial Literacy Month, there’s a strong argument to evolve from “Literacy” to “Empowerment.”  Now the next thing that needs to go is the word “Month.”

Consolidating efforts to focus on a single month of financial education can be effective.  It provides the biggest awareness punch and it’s easier to put forth a lot of effort in a discrete timeframe.  But why limit the effort to just 30 days of financial health?  Why not make financial empowerment a consistent part of the education process?  Why not create a whole movement focused on promoting smarter money habits that impacts a student across their entire lifetime? We know that behavior doesn’t change overnight.  And we know that the moments where students need help managing their money doesn’t just happen in April every year.

Financial Literacy Month has served a very valuable purpose: it’s helped create awareness around an incredibly important issue and raise up the need to teach students about money management habits at a young age.

But maybe it’s time to extend the concept of Financial Literacy Month and to focus on something bigger, better and more meaningful: a Financial Empowerment Movement.