Meet this week’s Campus Celebrity: Darcie Folsom. As Conn’s Director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy, Darcie facilitates Green Dot trainings, heads the Think S.A.F.E. Project, organizes educational programs, and so much more. Darcie was also recently included in Southeastern Connecticut’s 40 Under 40 List – talk about a super star! Read on to learn more about Darcie and follow the Think S.A.F.E. Project on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the amazing work she’s doing on campus!
Education: BS degrees in Marine Biology and Animal Science & Technology from the University of Rhode Island. Did post-graduate work in Animal Science at URI as well.
Hometown: North Waterboro, ME
Office Location: Cro 222
- How long have you been working at Conn? How would you describe your position as Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy?
I’ve been at Conn since February 2010 – almost 4 years. I absolutely LOVE my job. No day is the same; I get to work with amazing students who are passionate about violence prevention and I have the best colleagues anyone could ask for. A basic description of my job would be violence prevention and advocacy work focusing on sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
- So far, what has been the most rewarding part about working at Conn?
By far, watching the students embrace a topic that isn’t the easiest or most glamorous to talk about. I am so impressed with the culture that has been created among the student body where students are instilling the values of bystander intervention into their community. We have truly been able to work together to create change and foster an environment where these issues are discussed in the open.
- We know that you put on a TON of programs around campus. What are some of your favorite programs you’ve done? Favorite programs? So many! But I have to say anything related to Green Dot – my passion is the prevention work. And with that, I have a special spot in my heart for the Green Dot Hockey Game. The men’s ice hockey team really started the initiative of hosting Green Dot Games and has created an amazing partnership with Athletics that has continued with the Women’s Lacrosse and Men’s Soccer teams – it’s truly been amazing!
- Many students may know you through Green Dot training. Can you tell us about the Green Dot program and why you think it is important for students to do the training?
More than anything, Green Dot is about someone’s own confidence in their ability to step in when they see problematic behavior. We all have barriers that keep us from intervening – whether they are personal, peer influence or general bystander dynamics – and the training provides us all with the opportunity to address those barriers and discuss options to overcome the things that hold us back. The training is about each of us as individuals and how we see ourselves as part of the solution in our greater culture change. The great thing about Green Dot is that it is such an accessible way for students to learn about the issues, be aware of the culture we are creating and truly make a difference, one Green Dot at a time…
- What advice would you give to a college trying to start work related to sexual assault prevention and advocacy?
Given the number of OCR complaints that are currently in progress across the country and new legislation, campuses are definitely looking at ways to improve upon what they’re currently doing around violence prevention. The recent Campus SaVE act requires campuses to have policies and prevention education programs in place, which I suspect will be the starting point for many new efforts in higher education.
Connecticut College had applied for and received a 3-year grant from the Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, specifically to address power-based personal violence on college campuses. This was invaluable in being able to establish a program which was successful enough for the College to appreciate the value and make it a priority by institutionalizing the office which was done in May. If grant funding isn’t an option at this point, student-driven activism can be very powerful as well as on-campus collaboration between offices and allies to create programming and institute change. There is no way that the Think SAFE Project office can take sole credit for the culture shift that has happened on campus – everyone from students to senior directors have played an integral role in making it happen. We are very lucky in that way.
- What advice would you give to students who are interested in the topic of sexual assault prevention and advocacy?
I’d give the same advice I’d give everyone about any interest – get involved, get involved, get involved! There are so many ways students can learn more about the topic – a great place to start is Green Dot Training. If students are interested in joining SafetyNet or being one of the three Think SAFE interns next year, applications will be available in the spring. And there are wonderful local agencies to get involved with as well. Experience is key. Your education will get you far and getting your foot in the door is invaluable.
- You’ve done so much since arriving on campus, and we can’t wait to see the work you continue to do! What are some of your long terms goals?
Honestly? I would love it if every student on campus at least had an idea of what Green Dot was all about and was willing to step in when necessary. I’m probably one of the only people you’ll meet who wishes that my job didn’t need to exist. I don’t know that we’ll be able to eliminate power-based personal violence all together, but you bet I’m going to imagine that we can.
- Finally, we heard you completed a Tough Mudder race this summer! Super impressive! What are some other things you like to do when you’re not busy at Conn?
Yes, I completed the Tough Mudder with a couple of other Camels including CC Curtiss and Robin Johnston! It was a pretty incredible experience and we’ve already signed up to complete our second one in May. I’m really involved in the community – I’m Vice President of the Board of Directors at Safe Futures and I volunteer with Waggin Train Rescue finding homes for hard to place dog breeds like rotties and pit bulls and I have the occasional foster pup join my own two rotties at home. I LOVE to ski and spend a good amount of time at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine during the winter and a day at Gillette or Fenway is perfection for me. I’m pretty social so I love spending time with friends and family and my husband, John! My mantra is honestly to live life to the fullest so I completed a 30 Before 30 list and I’m now working on a 40 Before 40 one (I have a few years to go!). It’s a great way to remind myself to do things for fun, or force myself to step out of my comfort zone (hello, Tough Mudder) because life is meant to be enjoyed and I don’t want it to pass along too quickly without the opportunity to try new things!