In January, Lafayette College was awarded a $40,000 It’s On Us PA grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Governor’s Office. Lafayette is one of only two Lehigh Valley area colleges to receive funds for the 2023-24 grant cycle.

According to a news release, funds from the grant will be earmarked to prevent, address, and respond effectively to sexual violence. It’s part of the governor’s It’s On Us PA program that aims to prevent assaults on campus, according to Since 2016, more than $6 million has been awarded through more than 225 It’s On Us PA grants.

It’s the fourth year Lafayette has earned this grant, securing funds in 2018, 2020, and 2021.

“The Fostering Collaboration to Address the Intersectional Experiences of Survivors project provides an extraordinary opportunity to further enhance Lafayette’s response, prevention, and awareness efforts in our collegiate community,” says Katy Bednarsky, Lafayette’s student advocacy and prevention coordinator. “Centering survivor experiences in all initiatives is essential to fulfilling our mission and the goals of our students. The Gender-Based Violence Research Lab and Kiera Caldwell ’22’s thesis were an integral part in determining the direction and vision of our programs and initiatives. I am excited to continue to bring community recommendations and research into practice on campus!”

Bednarsky says the grant funds will be used on three key focus areas: 

  • Improving student awareness through workshops and programming, and making sure all students are aware of the resources available
  • Providing additional training for staff to develop evidence-based, trauma-informed best practices, and improve the reporting and response system on campus
  • Working with area agencies, including Turning Point of Lehigh Valley Inc. and the Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley, to provide prevention programming and facilitate a case study on at-risk populations, including survivors with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ survivors

“As co-director of the Gender-Based Violence Research Lab and Kiera Caldwell’s honors thesis adviser, I couldn’t be more pleased to see Kiera’s research and the lab’s mission being realized through the awarding of this grant,” says Dana Cuomo, professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. “Our lab’s goal is to support our campus stakeholders with evidence-based research that contributes to the prevention of gender-based violence at Lafayette College. I anticipate that this is but the first student research project under the purview of the GBVRL that supports this mission, and I am excited to continue partnering with Katy Bednarsky on future research-programming collaborations.”

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