A B.R.A.V.E new campus

It takes more than supernatural abilities to be a hero and save the day.

Through a new bystander awareness program at Pierce, anyone interested can be trained to be that hero.

The Brahmas Responding with Actions and Voices through Empowerment program focuses on teaching students how to intervene and neutralize a violent or dangerous situation before it escalates. The program is modeled after a national program based on the University of Arizona’s Step Up.

B.R.A.V.E.’s mission is to raise awareness about behaviors that aid others, increase motivation to help one another, and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.

Student Engagement Coordinator Lara Conrady Wong introduced the campaign to leaders on campus, which was then co-sponsored by the Associated Student Organization and the Diversity Committee.

“Hopefully, the B.R.A.V.E. program can be an overarching program that everyone feels they could be a part of,” Conrady Wong said.

The program began at Pierce in June with training for administration, faculty, staff and student leaders.

“Students and staff worked together on how they would manage a situation, and it was really amazing to see the different ideas that groups came up with and how it empowered the people in the training,” Conrady Wong said.

ASO sponsored the training in which Becky Bell, the creator of Step Up, introduced the principles of B.R.A.V.E. and educated the community about why bystanders don’t intervene and how they could intervene in a scenario in which violence or danger is possible.

Scenarios were presented and groups decided on possible solutions to problems that the Pierce community could face.

Co-chair of the Pierce College Diversity Committee Michael Habata said that awareness was the focus.

“The point of the training is to get people to recognize that something really is going on, and to get them to do something about it so it does not go on without any intervention,” he said.

The ASO will be promoting the ideas of B.R.A.V.E. through scheduled events throughout the semester, the soonest being the Clothesline Project in October. Multi-colored T-shirts will display messages to raise awareness about different types of sexual assault.

Holly Hagan, the textbook buyer for the Pierce Bookstore, has coordinated the Clothesline Project for years. B.R.A.V.E. will help coordinate the upcoming event.

Other possible events include a veteran’s event in November and a de-stress event in December to coincide with finals week.

The ASO will be hosting the events to promote bystander awareness and to pass on their training to students to make the B.R.A.V.E. program become part of the overall campus culture.

Students who want to get involved in the B.R.A.V.E. program are encouraged to attend the events, see what B.R.A.V.E. has to offer and ask questions about any concerns they may have. Students are also encouraged to attend ASO Senate meetings, which are open to the public.

“Students can get involved by talking to Lara and seeing how they can help out at one of the events and also attending the events,” said Efren Lopez, the ASO president. “A student can make sure that the faculty is understanding of the bystander awareness program as well.”