Beavers Give a Dam

Nov. 30, 2016 — Michelle Bangen, Student Health Services’ associate director for prevention and wellness, seeks to foster a culture of safety, respect and accountability at Oregon State. She runs Beavers Give a Dam (BGAD), an evidence-based bystander prevention program that offers customizable workshops for OSU communities. These workshops help students develop the skills and confidence needed to intervene before sexual violence occurs.

“Students are learning ... about the true picture of what sexual violence looks like on college campuses and the dynamics of sexual violence,” Bangen says. “They're seeing themselves as part of the solution to preventing sexual violence, they feel more confident performing bystander intervention, and they have some specific skills to take action.”

After participating in a BGAD workshop students are able to recognize different types of sexual violence and understand sexual consent — like when it can be given and received. They can also define the bystander effect and identify numerous bystander intervention strategies, as well as locate campus and local resources for sexual violence survivors. 

In the program’s first year, Beavers Give a Dam reached about 1,300 students and trained over 50 peer facilitators — including all athletic teams and several fraternities and sororities.

These numbers are encouraging to Bangen. Hundreds of students who complete Haven, the required online program for incoming students that addresses sexual violence, indicate that they want to be contacted by the university to get more involved in prevention efforts.

“I think one of the most powerful things is that students are seeing themselves as part of the solution to preventing sexual violence,” she says. “It's really on all of us to keep the community safe.” 

To request a workshop for a student group, visit studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/prevention-center/workshops.