Huskies Unite to Support Prevention Education and Outreach
By Tony Scott
Of the many areas of giving donors can choose during the Huskies United day of giving on June 22 and 23, Prevention Education and Outreach within the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion helps empower the campus, community and others to prevent violence and discrimination.
Prevention Education and Outreach involves training and workshops for students and NIU employees related to issues such as sexual harassment awareness and prevention, as well as discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, educational workshops are presented to community groups, private companies, municipalities, hospitals and other organizations through the office.
“It’s important to provide learning and development options for students, staff, faculty and community members on many topics including diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging,” Rose M.J. Henton, director of Prevention Education and Outreach, said. “These trainings help us better understand each other and the students so support can be provided in an impactful way.”
Everyone on campus can benefit from the services provided by Prevention Education and Outreach, she said.
“Students, faculty and staff benefit from the education provided by PEO and learn the importance of boundaries in the workplace, recognizing implicit bias as well as, being an active bystander and interrupting negative situations,” she said. “Our goal is to become a model prevention education program to promote safety and inclusivity in communities. This includes campus communities and communities outside of the DeKalb area.”
Henton, who previously served in nonprofit management, joined NIU six years ago as part of the Human Resource Services team after relocating from Danville, Illinois due to a job opportunity for her husband.
“Most of my background is in nonprofit administration, however, in higher education there are many opportunities,” Henton said. “I knew I wanted to work for NIU because I had many friends who worked here and enjoyed their work and the impact they could make on students and (the) community.”
Henton’s daughter also completed her bachelor’s degree in education at NIU, she said.
“I saw the valuable education she obtained and support she received from the university community,” she said. “I had worked a short time for Indiana State University and I knew there were many advantages to working in higher education including becoming part of a family who supports the success of the students. I have always enjoyed education and received my bachelor’s degree in criminology from Eastern Illinois University and my master’s in Non Profit Administration from North Park University.”
Henton began her tenure at NIU working for Human Resource Services.
“As time went on it became clear that my position would best be situated in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; this was a huge shift for me and a welcomed change,” she said. “DEI is an area I was interested in and where there is plenty of growth and opportunity to become more self-aware as we educate others. I enjoy a fast-paced environment and that is ADEI.”
Prevention Education and Outreach has grown since she first came to the office, Henton said.
“Due to demand, we have grown and now provide programming on violence prevention for students and employees, implicit bias in search committees, and a newly developed Inclusion in Action professional development series,” she said. “Development continues as we move to sharing our DEI expertise with the community and region. There is a need for DEI education and awareness at every level of a company, organization or non-profit organization. ADEI is uniquely situated to provide education sessions through online training, in-person workshops and on demand modules. It is an exciting time.”
Henton said more than 9,000 students and employees participate in a training or attend an awareness session from Prevention Education and Outreach every year, and that number continues to increase.
“PEO is a resource for those who are experiencing difficult situations and need to access resources,” she said. “We can ensure they know how, when and where to find the appropriate resource for what they are experiencing. Requests for training workshops is broadening as well.”
Henton said she has received positive feedback from across campus about the services PEO provides.
“Students, in particular, have stated that learning the steps on how to safely intervene in negative situations is helpful,” she said. “They find it beneficial to know what is a healthy relationship and what are some of the red flags that might indicate issues. Faculty and staff have responded positively to the Inclusion in Action series. It has helped them to understand that everyone’s lived experience is different and it is important to replace judgement with curiosity. They have noted that participants have been willing to be vulnerable and share information in order to help humanize important topics. They have noted the benefits of learning from fellow employees about handling traumas and how to recognize the need for self-care.”
Henton said the workshops can be incredibly impactful, and participants can receive additional help if needed.
“One particular moment that stood out to me came the day after a presentation when a student arrived at my office door,” she said. “They explained they had been in the training and knew they needed help with coping. We talked awhile and I was able to help them understand that Counseling and Consultation Services could help them. We walked there together and I turned them over to a counselor. Through our training and education workshops this happens frequently. Students reach out to us for direction, clarification and support.”
Henton encourages those considering donating to Huskies United to support the various services provided by the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“Alumni should donate to ADEI to ensure students have safe places to express their feelings, share experiences and learn how to deal with sometimes difficult situations,” she said. “A university is a home away from home for students. However, the cultural resource centers take that a step further and provide specialized support for students from all walks of life who are struggling for a variety of reasons. ADEI is the leader in diversity, equity and inclusion for the campus and beyond. It is important to engage students in an effort to prepare them for a world outside of the walls of the university. ADEI is the center of understanding one’s self, especially for first generation students who may need even more support and resource education.”
For more information on Huskies United, please visit the website: https://dog.niu.edu.
To sign up to become a Huskies United ambassador, please visit this website: https://dog.niu.edu/giving-day/56762/signup.
If you have questions about becoming an ambassador, please contact Liz McKee, M.S.Ed. ’14, at Lmckee@niu.edu.