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Bentley University Launches Student-Led Initiatives to Combat Bullying
(Students, faculty and administrators from Bentley University and Milton High School gather at Milton High School to lead their anti-bullying rallies.)
Students and faculty at Bentley University, in cooperation with the Bentley Service-Learning Center, have launched an anti-bullying campaign that extends from their Waltham, Mass. community into local schools and nearby communities. Designed to be run by students, the One Goal, One Community: Moving Beyond Bullying and Empowering for Life initiative is focused on educating community members and soliciting their commitment to help change behaviors and put an end to bullying.
As part of the effort, Bentley student leaders have been trained to lead anti-bullying programs for schools, organizations, parents, and teachers that provide the tools needed to develop a stronger support system and a proactive environment. Schools across the country have recognized the need to develop anti-bullying initiatives, yet the challenge lies in implementing such programs.
• Milton, Mass. is the first community to participate in Bentley’s anti-bullying program. On Tuesday, November 9th, 7:00pm, at Milton High School, Bentley students and Bentley Psychology Professor Greg Hall presented workshops on bullying and cyber-bullying to parents and teachers, providing them with the skills they need to recognize, prevent and act on bullying. The program included:
• An overview on bullying and its impact
• Break-out sessions designed specifically for the parents of elementary, middle school and high school students. These sessions address:
o Definitions of bullying
o Prevention strategies
o Tips for parents on how to initiate pro-active discussion with their children about bullying
o Resources available to help
"Our students are providing parents and teachers with the knowledge and tools they need to help them and their children deal with a growing epidemic," says Psychology Professor Greg Hall.
• In Bentley’s own backyard of Waltham, Mass., a team of students led by Bentley Senior and Service-Learning Leader Sarah Benson, have reached out to key community organizations including the Waltham Police Department, Boys and Girls Clubs, non-profit organizations and local businesses, who have all committed to support the One Goal, One Community program. “To sustain the movement, we need all parties in the community to form an emotional attachment to the program,” says Benson. “The students are the backbone of the community -- the ‘change agents’-- but they cannot do it alone.”
• On Wednesday, November 10th, in a series of rallies at Milton high school, middle school and elementary schools, Bentley students addressed 4,000 Milton K-12 students encouraging them to reject bullying and pledge support for culture change. The Milton students received anti-bullying bracelets designed especially for them and signed an anti-bullying pledge.
The One Goal, One Community program was established in April 2010 at Bond University in Australia by Associate Professor of Management and Director of the Bond University LEAP Research Centre, Dr. Amy Kenworthy, a Bentley alum. Kenworthy brought Bentley student Benson on to help her grow the program while she studied abroad at Bond as a service-learning representative. Upon Benson’s return to Bentley she began leading the charge to replicate the program internationally.
One of Bensons’ goals in bringing the initiative to Bentley is to have 20,000 community members sign the pledge against bullying by May 2011. Students at Bentley kicked-off their commitment to stand against bullying with a rally on campus in October. Hundreds of students attended and signed the pledge.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.