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Making our campus safer for LGBTQ students

Utilizing internship experiences to make a difference

On college campuses nationwide, sexual violence and intimate partner violence occurs at an alarming rate, with even higher rates noted among the LGBTQ population—and as Salem State University’s 2017 Campus Climate Survey indicated, our campus is no exception to these sobering statistics.  

As a result, inclusive excellence flagged LGBTQ student safety as a priority goal and asked Evan Kravette ’22G to develop plans to help achieve it. 

“I joined inclusive excellence as an intern to help figure out how to better support LGBTQ students,” Kravette explains. “When I saw that our bisexual, transgender, and queer students are more likely to report experiencing unwanted sexual contact than their cisgender peers who are heterosexual, gay, or lesbian, I wanted to focus my work in that area.” 

After conducting a comprehensive literature review to place the Campus Climate Survey results in a broader context, Kravette developed a new program called A Walk in My Shoes to help make our campus safer for LGBTQ students. Its implementation was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of unrestricted funds.  

“A Walk in My Shoes brings faculty and staff together to develop new skills to advocate for LGBTQ students on campus,” Kravette says. “The program focuses on diverse LGBTQ experiences in particular, because LGBTQ students of color don't always feel included in the community. We need to ensure that our advocacy work is inclusive.” 

These are lessons Kravette believes will help inform their career trajectory. Their accomplishments during the internship, in conjunction with their required MSW coursework, constitute strong professional preparation.  

“I’m grateful that unrestricted funding provided this opportunity to simultaneously prepare for my career and engage in this crucial work for our most vulnerable students,” Kravette says. “The more unrestricted funding we can access moving forward, the more we can develop programs and resources to support underrepresented student populations across Salem State. There’s so much more we could do.” 

Written by Rebecca Hains, PhD, professor, media and communication 

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