Partnering With the Pros To Support Victims of Sexual and Interpersonal Violence

Girl with SUNY's Got Your Back bag on in front of Bethpage Golf Course

In recent years, SUNY has been a leader in building efforts to better respond to sexual and interpersonal violence on college campuses and, through education, working towards a goal of eliminating these occurrences altogether. This year, the SUNY Title IX Coordinators Association (STIXCA) launched its Got Your Back campaign, beginning a program to provide support and comfort items to victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Every day, men, women, and children seek assistance from rape crisis and domestic violence shelters across New York State, often with little more than the clothes they are wearing. With SUNY’s Got Your Back, students, faculty and staff volunteer to fill bags with personal care and comfort items to distribute to men, women, and children that come to shelters in New York in hopes of providing them support and hope during their time of need. Companies and state agencies throughout New York have also joined the effort with funds and items to fill the bags.

SUNY's Got Your Back logoTo this day, the Got Your Back program has had nearly 4,000 bags completed and pledged among SUNY campuses across New York State. The work is not yet done. Now, SUNY will be taking this program outside of its immediate area and to the national stage. Due to a generous donation from the PGA TOUR Wives Association and the PGA TOUR, the program will have a presence at The Barclays, the first stop on the PGA TOUR playoffs at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale this week.

On Wednesday, August 24, during the pro-am day before the opening of The Barclays, SUNY and a slew of partners will be present to raise awareness about the Got Your Back campaign and sexual violence prevention and support. Volunteers from the PGA TOUR, the PGA TOUR Wives Association, and The Barclays will join students and workers from SUNY, our colleges at Farmingdale and Old Westbury, along with the State Police, the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the State Office of Victim Services, the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the recently established Office of Campus Safety, to assemble 5,000 backpacks to distribute.

With an expected 10,000 fans in attendance, anyone who stops by will be able to gather information about the program, learn about how to access support services and can connect with SUNY to bring Got Your Back to their school or organization.

Members of the SUNY family are eager to show their support for the program. SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Carl McCall acknowledges the success of SUNY’s Got Your Back to this point, saying “Now with the support of the PGA TOUR, The Barclays, and the PGA TOUR Wives Association, the SUNY’s Got Your Back program has far exceeded our expectations in the amount of resources we will be able to provide shelters throughout New York.”

Joeseph Storch, project coordinator of the SUNY’s Got Your Back program, is very thankful for the amount of participation and partnerships that have come about through the program. “We are very grateful to the PGA TOUR, the PGA TOUR Wives Association, and The Barclays for their generous support of the SUNY’s Got Your Back program. They have shown enormous generosity to us in inviting SUNY and its partners to the grounds, publicizing the importance of sexual and interpersonal violence prevention on campus and in the community, and making a generous donation to the program.”

SUNY is excited to continue promoting this program and garnering support for sexual assault survivors. Most of all, SUNY wants students to know what kinds of resources are available to them and the policies that cover them. This includes: the importance of affirmative consent, a Bill of Rights for reporting violence, amnesty in drug and alcohol use charges in a sexual assault case, and the options available to students moving forward after reporting an assault.

The commitment to student safety is a top priority for all SUNY faculty and staff. Continuing to expand the SUNY’s Got Your Back effort shows how this commitment is always growing.