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GRC restructures orientation event

Marisa Iati | Friday, August 19, 2011

When first-year students enter the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Monday for the traditional “College HAS Issues: Hookups, Alcohol and Sexual Assault” program, they will be greeted with an unusual request — to bring their cell phones and keep them on.

David Moss, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and interim director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC), said the office revamped the annual program for the Class of 2015 to make it more relevant.

“We’re trying to find a way to engage the student a little better … so our purpose is going to be to change things up to bring [the program] into the 21st century,” Moss said. “It will be one of the first times in the history of DeBartolo that students will be allowed to keep their cell phones on. We’ll cover basically the same information, talking about hookups, alcohol, sexual assault, but it’ll be done in a little different manner, so it should be interesting for the students.”

The program’s goal, to inform first-year students about issues they might face on campus and ways to make wise choices, will stay the same, Moss said. Details about the program’s changes, however, will remain a mystery until the Monday meeting.

Elizabeth Moriarty, assistant director of the GRC, said College HAS Issues is an opportunity to protect students by making them aware that rape and sexual assault do happen at Notre Dame, but can be prevented.

“Coming to college is a very exciting, complex time,” she said. “There are a lot of fears, there’s a lot of excitement. It can be very overwhelming, but there are important things they need to know, and we need a chance to talk with them.”

The changes in the program are meant to better communicate the information with the exhausted first-year students, she said.

“The good news is if we work together to better educate [students] and prevent these things from happening, we can make it go away,” she said. “This is an important message, so we have to be more creative about how we get the message across.”

Moss said he and other members of the GRC staff discussed how the program could be improved for this fall, and was enthusiastic about the revisions.

“It’s going to be an excellent program,” he said.