As part of the Institute’s efforts to call attention to sexual assault education and prevention work during national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, MIT Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) and the Title IX Office hosted the first annual Change Maker Awards on April 11. The ceremony, which brought advocates and allies from across campus together, recognized select students, faculty, and staff for their outstanding work to end sexual violence at MIT.
“The VPR and Title IX teams came up with the idea for the Change Maker Awards because we want to make the positive visible,” said Kate McCarthy, director of VPR. “We want to celebrate the people who are working to create a more inclusive and welcoming community.”
The awards honor individuals who reflect the values and mission of the Institute, challenge harmful attitudes, language, and behaviors, and help take positive strides toward shifting the culture that perpetuates sexual violence. Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to nominate individuals or student groups who are working to make a difference at MIT. The selection committee, which included representatives from VPR and Title IX, reviewed the nominations and selected this year’s award recipients.
Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, who has made sexual assault education and prevention a top priority during her tenure, congratulated VPR, Title IX, and the first class of Change Makers for their hard work and dedication.
“I believe it is important for us to take a moment out of our hectic day-to-day lives to recognize our students, faculty, staff, and organizations in this way. By honoring the individuals who are responsible for moving us forward, we are making a powerful statement about our collective commitment to education, prevention, and cultural change,” Barnhart said during welcoming remarks at the ceremony.
The 2017 Change Maker Award recipients play diverse roles on campus and bring unique perspectives, expertise, creativity, and commitment to eliminating one of the most pressing problems in higher education today.
The following individuals and student group make up the inaugural class of Change Makers:
- Senior Charlie Andrews-Jubelt was selected for his contributions as a member of Students Advocating for Education and Respectful Relationships (SAFER2) and founding peer educator in PLEASURE. Andrews-Jubelt is known for speaking up to challenge harmful cultural norms.
- Graduate student Priya Moni was recognized for her initiative to improve the online sexual harassment training programs new students take during orientation by adding content tailored to the MIT community.
- MIT’s Interfraternity Council’s sexual misconduct committee members were named Change Makers because the group designed the Consent Awareness and Prevention (CAP) certification program to recognize fraternities who prioritize member education.
- David Singer, associate professor of political science and associate head of house at MacGregor, received recognition for his work chairing the Presidential Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. Singer spearheaded the effort to ensure all faculty and staff receive training on sexual misconduct prevention as well as how to respond to a student who discloses a sexual misconduct incident.
- Graduate student Brittney Johnson was selected by her peers and by Vienna Rothberg, program manager of the PLEASURE program, for her consistent positive energy, dedication, and constructive criticism as a member of the PLEASURE Executive Board. Johnson has also instituted proactive changes to improve the group’s operations.
VPR and Title IX staff will continue to work with these allies as well as the countless other champions of change in the hopes of eliminating sexual violence at MIT.