Alison Berk, sexual violence prevention coordinator, joined the Arcadia community on March 14 to provide additional expertise in building a better prevention and advocacy network for sexual assault and dating violence. The position was added as part of the three-year, $300,000 grant by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“This grant provides an opportunity to create something from the ground up,” said Berk. “My previous school, The College of Charleston, has one of the oldest victim advocacy centers in the country. Prevention building in 2019 looks a lot different from what it use to be—it’s intersectional. This is a great opportunity to do something amazing, rather than revamping an old structure.”
Since 2014, Berk served as coordinator of Prevention Education Initiatives & Student Conduct at The College of Charleston in South Carolina. At Arcadia, Berk oversees the assessment, implementation, and sustainability of the grant programming, including campus surveying, prevention programming, and capacity building with law enforcement training.
This semester, Berk hopes to complete the campus climate survey, which will serve as a baseline for the programming implementation over the following two years. In the third year of the grant, a climate survey will be re-issued to gauge how far the programming has come and what should be done moving forward.
“I look forward to meeting students and learning about their needs,” said Berk. “I hope they’ll feel welcomed to stop by for a cup of tea and a chat.”
The grant will enable the University to address services for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. While current reporting procedures, training, and services exist, the grant will enable the improvement of these programs. The grant will support the development of a coordinated response between the University, law enforcement, and community victim services in support of survivors of sexual violence.
Arcadia is one of only 57 higher education institutions across the country, and three in Pennsylvania, to receive a grant from OVW to address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Berk holds a Master of Education in School Counseling and Student Affairs from The Citadel and a Bachelor's of Arts in Philosophy/Women's Studies/Human Rights from the University of Connecticut.
If you or someone you know experiences sexual assault or dating violence, the Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators, dean of students, director of Public Safety and assistant vice president for Human Resources can provide assistance. The Title IX team will ensure that they take all reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well being of individuals and the community. To find out more about reporting an incident, visit the Arcadia website.