The Department of Women’s Studies and the Student Government Association will be working with the Tennessee Board of Regents to host a “Be Aware/Take Action” leadership conference on Feb. 26.

Phyllis Thompson, Director of Women’s Studies at ETSU, said the event will help bring awareness to the current and future situation of sexual violence and rights on and off campus.

Students hoping to participate in the conference can pay $25 for a ticket unless they are sponsored by a specific department.

Thompson said the conference, which is being held across the state, aims to help educate students about Title IX and the Clery Act.

“These acts mandate that college campuses are proactive in ensuring their campuses are free of sex discrimination, harassment or violence,” Thompson said, “which makes them a hostile environment for any student and that campuses provide resources and education on sex discrimination, sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence.”

The ETSU Department of Women’s Studies has played a huge role in organizing the event, which stems from the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“As one of the academic units at ETSU that studies, teaches courses on and does social justice to raise awareness about and prevent violence on campus and in the community, Women’s Studies is collaborating with Student Affairs to organize this important conference,” Thompson said.

The conference will open with programs on “Knowing your IX,” “Victim’s Rights on College Campuses” and “Bystander Intervention.”

After these sessions, students will have the chance to enter into conversation about each topic.

“There will be a working lunch panel discussion, facilitated by faculty and students on the role of student leaders on college campuses today,” Thompson said.

After lunch, there will be a series of break-out sessions that will last about 45 minutes each.

These sessions include topics such as “Leading with Authenticity and Integrity,” “Got Privilege?” “Consent and Gender Dynamics,” “Healthy Masculinities,” “Safe,” “Neurobiology of Trauma,” “Stigma & Health Disparities: Translational Research with emphasis on health and protective factors” and “Queer the Power Wheel: The Alarming Facts about LGBTQ Violence/Gender Violence.”

Each session will be presented by qualified ETSU faculty members and students.

Thompson stresses that this event is for “anyone who wants to be part of the solution.”

“The conference is for the Greeks, Pan-Hellenic, the football team, women’s sports, club presidents, student organizations, church-affiliated campus groups, feminists, LGBTQ+ folk, future educators, future counselors, anyone who has a sister, anyone who has a brother, future moms and dads, friends, allies, all of us,” Thompson said.  “This is a critically-important conference for the health and safety of students on our campus.”

Thompson wants to “challenge everyone on campus to validate that importance with their time, attendance and participation at the Be Aware/Take Action conference.”