Avon Foundation for Women gives Appalachian $5,000 grant


Assistant Director of Student Conduct Ellen Hartman in her office in Plemmons Student Union last Wednesday. Hartman convinced the Avon Foundation for Women to give Appalachian State University a $5,000 grant for a Bystander Fellows Institute. Photo by Kelly Walker | The Appalachian

Laney Ruckstuhl

This August, the Avon Foundation for Women gave Appalachian State University a $5,000 grant, aimed at decreasing sexual violence by spreading awareness through education.

This grant is part of the Avon Foundation’s program, the Women Speak Out Against Domestic Abuse Initiative.

The money from the grant is going to help fund a new program on campus called the Bystander Fellows Institute. The Bystander Fellows Institute is going to be a three to four day seminar offered to incoming first-year students.

“A lot of [the money] is going to be put toward actual materials for the students to take with them when they leave the institute and a lot of it is going to be for training materials,” said Ellen Hartman, the advisor of Appalachian’s Red Flag Campaign. “There’ll be varying topics of sexual violence prevention and intervention during the three- to four-day seminar.”

Hartman said Appalachian is one of 30 universities to receive this grant, although roughly 100 universities applied. Hartman is also the author of the application for this grant.

“What the Avon Foundation has done is create a focus on engaging the active bystander to reduce assault, dating abuse and stalking,” Hartman said.

To earn the grant, Appalachian had to send in a detailed description of what the money would go toward and how the university planned to evaluate success.

Suzette Patterson, the supervisor of the grant’s application and a former worker in the Department of Multicultural Student Development, said the Avon Foundation has been dedicated to bettering the lives of women since 1955.

“The idea is to provide a specialized training and group-building experience for a small group of incoming students,” Patterson said. “Then, they can take what they learn about being active bystanders, using campus resources and preventing interpersonal violence with them into their college experience.”

Hartman said the first year will serve as a pilot seminar to gauge its success, and although it is currently aimed at first-year incomers only, Appalachian might open it up to the student body at large if it is successful enough.

Although no date is officially set for when the first seminar will begin, it is tentatively hoped be held in July 2015.

Story: Thomas Culkin, Intern News Reporter