California Higher Education Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Conference

Awards & Recognition

Violence Prevention Champion Award

Jennifer Gacutan-Galang
receives her awardMary Sue Savage
Humboldt State University

Mary Sue Savage meets all the necessary qualifications to be named a Violence Prevention Champion. Not only has Ms. Savage spearheaded the creation of and outreach for a brand new and highly innovative Bystander Intervention initiative called "CHECK IT" at HSU, but she has also done so as an outstanding leader to the team involved. Given the high rates of sexualized violence on campus communities, CHECK IT is based on the reality that this issue affects everyone. With students of all gender identities experiencing dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking during college, students will likely witness a potential moment of harm. Fortunately, every potential moment of harm within the presence of bystanders is also a CHECK IT moment, a time students can have each other’s backs and prevent someone from being hurt. Through utilizing this approach, Ms. Savage has been able to move students from passive agreement that violence is wrong to active engagement in violence prevention.

Here’s what one student wrote about Ms. Savage: “I can speak from the student perspective as both a member of the launch team and Peer Education program that Mary Sue oversees.  She has provided our team with such supportive and inclusive leadership, unlike any I have ever experienced.”

 Mary Sue consistently prioritizes the needs of the Peer Education staff and student launch team in her guidance by regularly checking in through holding in-meeting dialogue and conducting anonymous online polling where we could freely voice concerns or issues with the plan of action for CHECK IT. Due to the inclusivity of Mary Sue's leadership and our ability therefore to be very involved in the decision-making process of expanding and adjusting CHECK IT, there was seldom any staff conflict or dissatisfaction. However when there were any Mary Sue was always ready to actively listen and open up a dialogue so that we as a staff could come up with our own solutions.

Mary Sue Savage not only provided outstanding support and excellent leadership for the efforts surrounding CHECK IT but remained incredibly humble in her leadership the entire time.   She creates an exceptionally encouraging, supportive, innovative and productive work environment.  Ms. Savage has also prioritized her staff's professional and leadership development by providing many opportunities for individual growth as student and community leaders. She is incredibly deserving of this award and comes highly recommended from her staff.  Ms. Savage has taken a comprehensive and coordinated approach to violence prevention at Humboldt State University.  She has gracefully and passionately led the Peer Educators and volunteers to believe a world without violence is possible, to fight for justice and maintain compassion in all work.

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