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Monthly bystander intervention training offered at the Den

By Fabian Mayer, October 27 2015 —

The Den is hosting monthly bystander intervention training sessions run by the UCalgary Strong initiative.

The program began offering three sessions per week this fall. Senior director of student services Jennifer Quinn said roughly 600 students have undergone the training so far.

“The training teaches students pro-social behaviour and gives them practical tools to understand how to be active bystanders,” Quinn said.

According to Quinn, the sessions at the Den are part of an effort to offer the training at locations heavily frequented by students.

“We want to be able to provide students with practical skills before they have that evening out that they can use that night if they need to,” Quinn said.

The Den provides their Red Room for the sessions, as well as complimentary food.

“We reached out to the Students’ Union because they’ve been so supportive of the bystander intervention training program,” Quinn said.

Vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan is excited about the sessions being hosted at the Den.

“It’s really just a way for students to do the training in a casual environment,” McGowan said. “It’s about creating a strong campus community and that’s obviously something the Den stands for too.”

McGowan said all Den staff and SU executives have received bystander intervention training.

“It provides you with a lot of tools to make you feel comfortable when it comes to deciding how to react to a certain situation,” McGowan said.

Quinn said the program focuses on three areas — bullying and hazing, power-based violence and recognizing signs of emotional stress. The goal is to train 10 per cent of the campus population each year.

“There’s a lot of research behind it that really shows its effectiveness in helpings students to help each other,” Quinn said.

Sessions usually consist of 15–20 people. Students  can register for sessions at ucalgary.ca/currentstudents/ucalgarystrong.

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