By Julia Schemmer | June 25, 2016
On Sunday, April 3rd, 2016, student leaders from across the University of California gathered together for the first ever UC Student Peer Education Symposium. From informative workshops on intersectionality and interpersonal sexual violence to a special self-care session, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network and discuss the best strategies for peer education, including consent education and sexual violence prevention. At the end of the day, students heard from keynote speaker La Shonda Coleman, who is the Director of College Programs for the Rape Treatment Center at the UCLA Medical Center.
“The UC wide sexual violence peer education symposium was really important to me because there are so many of us in the UC working on sexual violence prevention but most of us never get to talk and network with one another, and most of us never receive any real training on how to take an intentional intersectional approach to activism,” says Sam Alavi, a third-year student at UC Davis and lead organizer of the event. “It was great to have the opportunity to come together for the weekend to become better at something we’re so passionate about.”
Students had the opportunity to represent their organizations and peer education groups in the systemwide roundtable discussions. Since each campus is different in terms of their peer education structure, relationships with administration and other organizations, and activities, it was a meaningful way to gain inspiration before returning back to their campus, ready to organize for collective change.
This work is tough, and often goes without breaks or recognition. At the end of the symposium, a self-care session was held with all attendees to relax, unwind and mentally recharge before the journey home. Activists have to take care of each other and learn from another, and thus it was essential to instill the culture of self-care within the symposium space.
Julia Schemmer is a first-year Public Policy major at UC Riverside and Media Intern for the UC Students Association. Her goal is simple: to put the lit back in politics.