Peer Empowerment Program joins Project AWAKEN

Members of Peer Empowerment Program handed out pamphlets and HotHands at Centennial Plaza on Jan. 21 to raise awareness for sexual violence.

Members gave 504 students P.E.P’s contact information and HotHands, heating devices that last up to 10 hours. P.E.P. works closely with Project AWAKEN, a federally funded grant program at Tech working to provide services to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking and educate students on preventative practices.

“I am incredibly proud of this program,” Project AWAKEN coordinator Jac Ewasyshyn said. “I truly believe that the best way to create positive social change at a university is through students.”

P.E.P. started in the fall, and its 18 student members serve as peer educators. Each member undergoes an interview process and 10 hours of training when accepted.

“We work to break the stigma that surrounds sexual violence. We work for the people that didn’t feel they have a voice,” member Hayley Vaughn said. “I’ve heard some people say that the things no one wants to talk about are the things that need to be said. We spread awareness through many events throughout the school year that I encourage everyone to attend.”

P.E.P plans to sponsor One Billion Rising, an event to protest sexual violence, on Tuesday from 11a.m.-12 p.m. in the RUC lobby.

“It is amazing to have a group of students that care so much about this school and their peers. They are passionate about everyone being safe, included, and eliminating sexual violence,” Ewasyshyn said.