Emma Zorfass: SAPAC Student Leader

Emma Zorfass is a junior at the University of Michigan, studying in the Ford School of Public Policy. In the midst of the overwhelmingly large selection of clubs and student organizations Michigan has to offer, Emma has managed to find her niche at SAPAC (the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center). Her desire to raise awareness of sexual assault and prevention on college campuses attracted her to the program as a volunteer her freshman year. Since then, she has been continuously involved in the organization, taking on additional roles and initiatives.


Her Campus: Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

Emma Zorfass: I'm a junior majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Economics and Applied Statistics. I'm from New York. I'm currently binge-watching How To Get Away With Murder, and I may be single-handedly keeping No Thai in business. I've been volunteering for SAPAC since my freshman year and working there since sophomore year!


HC: It sounds like you keep yourself busy, do you have any idea of what you may want to pursue after graduation? 

EZ: I'm really interested in both the K-12 education and public health policy fields. I'm planning on working for a couple years, while I figure it out, and then going back to grad school.


HC: Can you tell us more about SAPAC?

EZ: SAPAC is the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, and it's a part of the University just like CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services), Health Services, etc. There are five professional staff members, several SSW interns, and 150 student volunteers! Professional staff work with clients, supervise the volunteer groups, and lead a ton of other projects throughout the university. The three student volunteer groups (Networking, Publicity & Activism, Peer Education, and Bystander Intervention & Community Engagement) organize events such as Speak Out, rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change, saPAC The Diag, and No Shave November for Consent. We also do collaborative work with other groups on campus. My group, Bystander Intervention & Community Engagement (BICE), works with Greek Life, multicultural groups, sports teams, and others to bring more people into the dialogue about sexual assault and consent and to provide tools to be proactive bystanders and stop sexual assault in their communities. 


HC: What drew you to become involved in SAPAC? Did you know about it before you came to Michigan?

EZ: I knew about SAPAC going into my freshman year and I knew how much of an issue sexual assault on campus is, so I wanted to join SAPAC to learn more and to educate others. I also wanted a space to talk with others about gendered issues, building healthy relationships, social inequality, and fostering respect in our communities, and SAPAC provided just that.


HC: What is your role at SAPAC and what does that entail?

EZ: I'm a volunteer in BICE, as well a student staff member at SAPAC. SAPAC draws all of its student staff from its volunteer base, so that staff has knowledge on these issues too. My title is Events Coordinator, and it's a new position! This semester, I helped organize Volunteer Training - a 30 hour in-depth training on sexual assault and intimate partner violence that is required of all new volunteers for SAPAC. My other big project is a student activism conference on April 2nd. We're inviting students from schools all over Michigan, both students who are currently activists in this field and others who want to start organizations like SAPAC. The purpose of the conference is to share ideas regarding what we do to prevent and address sexual assault, to learn from each other, and to build skills to strengthen our respective communities.


HC: What's your favorite or most rewarding aspect of being a part of the organization?

EZ: My favorite part of SAPAC has been the weekly BICE meetings, where we catch up, plan workshops, and propose other projects to complete throughout the semester. The most rewarding part of being involved in SAPAC, for me, has been being a source of information and support for peers and friends. I usually get a lot of questions when I tell people I'm involved in SAPAC, and I love talking about this organization (as you can probably tell). I've also had friends ask me for advice or support, and being knowledgable and being able to help them makes me feel empowered.


HC: Do you have any advice for those thinking of getting involved in SAPAC, and how they might go about doing that?

EZ: To become a full volunteer for SAPAC, you can go through the next Volunteer Training during Winter semester 2017. The Redshirt Program allows you to get involved earlier in the Fall semester by attending meetings before you go through Volunteer Training in the winter. People go through Volunteer Training as freshmen, seniors, and even graduate students, so it's not too late to join! There's also Ally Training, which is a 1-day training geared towards raising awareness and skill building for people to bring back to their own communities. Check out our website and Facebook page for updates!

Link to website: https://sapac.umich.edu/

Link to FB page: https://www.facebook.com/sapac1