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Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund - fund recipient

Lakeland University and Safe Harbor of Sheboygan County have received a grant for $144,920 from the Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund to create a model program to help reduce sexual violence on college campuses.

The award was formally announced Wednesday afternoon during an event at the Marcus Performing Arts Bradley Pavilion in Milwaukee. Lakeland and Safe Harbor joined more than three dozen organizations that received grants from the Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund.

Education will be a central component of the Lakeland and Safe Harbor partnership. The grant will be used to develop programming for students, faculty and staff, programming that stresses the importance of bystander intervention in preventing sexual assault violence, as well as dispelling common myths about what causes sexual violence.

Additionally, grant dollars will create two new part-time positions and fund training for Lakeland staff, as well as help publicize programming.

One part-time position will be filled by a Safe Harbor employee, who will serve as an on-campus advocate for victims, as well as shape education and prevention efforts. The other part-time position will be a Lakeland employee who will help develop and implement education, training and awareness events on campus.

"Reported incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence and stalking are on the rise on college campuses across the country," said Lakeland President Dan Eck. "Lakeland has not been immune from these challenges, and we are fortunate to receive this grant to partner with Safe Harbor to fund our efforts to help prevent sexual assault violence."

Safe Harbor Executive Director Laura Roenitz said, "We are thrilled to partner with Lakeland University to ensure that students in our community understand and are aware of the services available if they are sexually assaulted. As this community's only agency providing these kinds of services, we are uniquely positioned to get started right away making a difference to students who are struggling with these issues. We are grateful to Aurora and the Better Together grant for making it possible for us to work with Lakeland to make this a safe community for everyone who lives, studies and works here."

Lakeland has procedures in place for handling complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence, but Eck said the Aurora grant will allow the university to establish a model program.

"We want students to become more comfortable coming forward and speaking out sooner after an incident occurs so they can access any needed services and so targeted prevention education can be created to reduce future incidents. The education that will happen as a result of this program will create a culture of respect and equality as we work to reduce incidents of sexual violence."

The Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund helps community-based providers expand primary care and behavioral health services, as well as sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and treatment programs. Through this fund, grant recipients are able to serve their communities with better access to health care so all can live well. Learn more at aurora.org/bettertogether.

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