Project AWAKEN to produce Peer Empowerment Program

Peer Empowerment Program president Sean Kennon and Project AWAKEN coordinator Jac Ewasyshyn look to make the PEP an official student organization this fall.
Photo by Abby Dykes.

Project AWAKEN’s coordinator Jac Ewasyshyn is bringing both virtual reality and possibly a new student organization to Tech’s campus this semester.

Peer Empowerment Program, also known as PEP, focuses on potential sexual violence on campus. Students intend to go before the Student Affairs Committee on Sept. 26 seeking official status.

PEP offers sexual assault training through a virtual reality program.

“Students will see a situation happening around them, and they have the opportunity to intervene. We are going to offer it to all First-Year Connection classes,”Ewasyshyn said.

PEP also offers privacy.

“We’re confidential informants. Anything they want to confide in us –and just us –that stays right there. I think that’s huge to offer students,”PEP President Sean Kennon said.

Ewasyshyn said the organization is able to offer these resources through a grant.

The Office of Violence Against Women awarded Project AWAKEN a three-year grant in 2017 to address the issues of sexual violence, domestic dating violence, stalking prevention on campus. It’s also used to support those affected by sexual assault Ewasyshyn said.

“The first year was a strategic planning year, so we weren’t allowed to do anything. It was a year of gathering data and figuring out how things are going at Tech,”Ewasyshyn said.

Project AWAKEN is in its second year, but PEP development only began last spring.

“We had the idea last semester, but it was a lot of back and forth, a lot of meetings, a lot of making sure everything was officially set up …we have a great team of people who are really committed to it,”Kennon said.

Students may volunteer for PEP through Project AWAKEN.

“We already have 10 students …they’ve all gone through training on crisis intervention – a 10-hour training. It’s all about how to respond to survivors, how to be empowering and give resources,”Ewasyshyn said.

To contact Project AWAKEN, email, or stop by the Roaden University Center Room 339.