USC newly appointed Violence Prevention Specialist Hyun Kyoung "Sarah" Hong said she wants to build new programs for USC's diverse student community.
A new workshop about affirmative consent will be offered for incoming freshmen in fall 2019, according to Hong. She said the workshop, focusing heavily on communication and respect, will educate students on what consent is, how to ask for it and how to respect and care for sexual partners.
USC's policy website defines affirmative consent as "affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity."
Hong said because USC has a diverse student body, there should be a multitude of solutions available to students of many different identities.
"It takes a lot of effort to change a social problem," she said, "and it's not just USC, it's all over the world."
Hong holds a bachelor's degree in biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience from University of Michigan and two master's degrees from Columbia University in Public Health and International Affairs.
"I decided to pursue policy because I want to make a change at the macro level," Hong said of her educational background. "We can have a belief that something is bad, but if we think that the rest of society doesn't think that it's bad, it limits our behavior."
Freshmen are currently required to complete a series of online modules during their first semester at USC. The "Think About It" module talks about issues relating to relationships, consent and sexual assault.
As of fall 2019, the new in-person workshop will be voluntary and supplementary to the "Think About It" module.
Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services, or RSVP, is a part of USC Health Services which provides therapy, counselors and support in situations where violence is linked to gendered expectations and exploitative power dynamics.
RSVP also offers a peer outreach program open to both undergraduate and graduate students. The program is called VOICE, which stands for Violence Outreach Intervention and Community Empowerment.
Student VOICE representatives complete a training program and attend bi-weekly meetings to help support survivors of trauma and learn about violence prevention.
On April 10, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine announced USC is one of the 43 institutions and 28 founding members that have joined National Academies to launch an Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.
"It's our mission at USC to create a culture and climate that prevents sexual harassment," USC Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy said in a statement regarding the collaborative. "… I am encouraged that USC and 42 other higher education institutions have united together to support this important cause. I hope that more will join us as we strive as a community of academia to prevent sexual harassment–because together, we can do better."
RSVP offices are located in Engemann Student Health Center, Suite 356, 1031 W 34th St, Los Angeles, CA. RSVP Services can also be reached at (213) 740-4900.