BTN.com staff, February 19, 2015
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?Every campus has an identity, a culture. It?s all around us; it?s everywhere. But we are the ones who craft it. At Indiana, we want our culture to be a culture of care.?
That?s the sentiment of Patrick Holbrook, a junior at Indiana University and co-chair of Culture of Care, a relatively new but fast-growing movement on campus.
As described in a BTN LiveBIG story last year, students at Indiana University created ?Culture of Care,? an initiative that aims to change mindsets on campus along with its surrounding community in Bloomington.
This program educates individuals about bystander intervention and promotes peer-to-peer discussion about controversial yet relevant issues such as ?sexual well-being, mental health, alcohol and drug awareness, and respect.?
With the hashtag ?#CourageToCare? and a Twitter page boasting more than 1,000 followers, the movement is spreading and attracting the likes of To Write Love on Her Arms, a prominent organization that provides support for those dealing with self-harm, depression or addiction.
According to Rachel Green, senior advisor to Culture of Care, universities across the country have been reaching out as well, asking about the program and for help starting something similar on their own campuses.
?People love the idea because it?s so salient,? Green said. ?Students hear Culture of Care, and it?s obvious what it means without too much explanation.?
[btn-post-package]Although social media and outreach were fundamental to the growth of the program, Green mentioned that the group?s focus shifted away from branding and more towards impact. ?Culture of Care Week? - the greatest determinant of that impact - has been one of the biggest events on campus since 2012, with an increase of specialized programs each year.
One of those programs is Step UP! IU, which lasts 90 minutes and provides training for intervening in situations such as hazing, harassment and discrimination.
?Our Step UP! IU programs, which talk about bystander intervention, walk students through scenarios to make sure they feel comfortable intervening when they see someone in need,? Green said. ?These presentations have trained more than 2,000 students in the past few years alone.?
Along with that program, Culture of Care has partnered with other groups at Indiana - such as Crimson CORPS, which specializes in mental-health advocacy, and OASIS, which provides intervention programs - to grow a network of student support throughout campus.
?What we believe as an organization is that change starts from within,? Holbrook said. ?Hoosiers are the ones that can take this, move forward and make impacts in our community.?
Watch the one-minute video above to learn more about Indiana University?s Culture of Care.
By Ashley Lemaine