RE Initiative: Michael Krug

April is the month to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Michael Krug is a graduate assistant for the GBV and RE Initiative where his primary task is to manage the peer educators and advocates and make sure everything keeps running smoothly day to day for the organization.

Her Campus (HC): What is GBV? What is the RE Initiative?

Michael Krug (MK): Gender-based violence (GBV) is an umbrella term that encompasses sexual assault, rape, stalking, and dating and domestic violence. The RE Initiative is an on-campus, student-led program aimed at reacting to and reducing incidents of GBV. The RE Initiative comprises a three-tier approach: PACT training to reimagine effect bystander intervention strategies, peer advocacy to properly react to incidents of GBV, and community collaboration to redefine the culture around gender-based violence.

 

HC: How did you get involved in the RE Initiative?

MK: I started working with the RE Initiative in the fall of 2014 as an undergraduate. I was a peer educator and helped with the development of several of our poster series and became certified as a Minnesota Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate. After graduation in May 2015 I took a semester off to travel and then returned as the RE Initiative graduate assistant in Spring 2016.

 

HC: Are you and the RE Initiative doing anything for Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

MK: The RE Initiative is partnering with the club Fighting for Our Rights and Gender Equality (FORGE) to co-sponsor Take Back the Night. We also will be holding several 2.5-hour PACT trainings for groups on campus. There is an open PACT training for all students and/or staff on April 10th at 5:30pm in Minne 103.

HC: How would someone get involved?

MK: To get involved with the RE Initiative you can contact myself or Heather Gerdes, the GBV Prevention and Intervention Coordinator. My email is [email protected] and Heather’s is [email protected].

 

HC: What do other students who are involved with the RE Initiative do?

MK: All of the student workers for the RE Initiative are peer educators and advocates. They facilitate PACT trainings, ranging from 10 minutes to 5.5 hours, and educate others about GBV, consent, and active bystander intervention. As advocates they all carry the 24/7 confidential GBV helpline. While they are holding the helpline they are on call to anyone who may need advocacy in a crisis situation, have questions about our program or reporting, or have any other concerns related to GBV.

 

HC: What do you do for the RE Initiative?

MK: I am the graduate assistant for the RE Initiative. My primary task is to manage the peer educators and advocates and make sure everything keeps running day to day for the organization. Sometimes I present PACT trainings or carry the 24/7 confidential GBV helpline if no one else is available. We also have a multitude of side projects we work on, including creation of new programming and videos. We are also presenting at a conference in Madison at the end of April. It keeps us all very busy!

HC: Why is the RE Initiative important for Winona State?

MK: Updates to the Clery Act in 2014 mandate that all universities nationwide have ongoing educational programming for students about GBV on campus. Essentially, the RE Initiative keeps WSU compliant with clery while also providing unique and valuable resources for students.

 

HC: What do you think people who are involved with the RE Initiative get out of being involved?

MK: Many of us involved with the RE Initiative have personal experience or know people who have experienced GBV. Knowing that we are helping others who have experienced these things is gratifying, but beyond that we know we are changing campus culture to create a safer and more just community for all. 

Gender-based violence is an issue. Since April is the month to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence, think about making a difference by going to the RE Initiative on Winona State’s campus.