Haven, Colgate’s sexual violence resource center, celebrated its fifth anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 28, in a ceremony honoring those who were instrumental to its creation in 2016.
A dedicated space, providing survivor-centric care to students who have experienced sexual violence on campus, Haven offers counseling, group therapy, and educational programming for the Colgate community. At the ceremony, faculty, staff, and students shared what Haven means to them and discussed the vision for its future.
“Haven represents a promise to students that they will not be alone,” said Associate Professor of LGBTQ Studies Danny Barreto, a faculty member who has supported Haven since its inception. “This milestone is a moment to celebrate, recognize, and recharge, but it’s also a call to action for everyone to step up to continue the work.”
Haven Intern Mackenzie Harrison ’22 displayed a digital timeline, which she researched and developed during her summer internship, covering the events and accomplishments leading up to and since the creation of Haven. Haven ambassadors are Colgate students who are trained to serve as connectors between survivors and support services — Harrison has been part of the ambassador program since her first year at Colgate.
“It means a lot to be doing this work,” Harrison said. “I’m grateful to the staff who supported my ideas and let me sit in on meetings because I get to bring that back to the students. Very few schools have a separate office from Title IX to make sure students are supported in a holistic way; it shows incredible investment on the part of Colgate.”
In support of that investment, Haven welcomed new assistant and associate directors this fall, thanks to collaboration between Assistant Vice President of Counseling and Psychological Services and Director of Sexual Violence Support Dawn LaFrance and Vice President and Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II. Prior to arriving at Colgate, Associate Director Charm Little-Ray served as the program director of preventive services at Brooklyn Community Services and spent several years providing therapy and advocacy for families and children in the child welfare system. Assistant Director Michele Passonno previously worked in Emory University’s Office of Respect and received her BA in psychology and her MSEd and CAS in school counseling.
“Haven is about more than the place,” said McLoughlin. “The healing power of Haven depends on the programs and the people — a priority for the administration and the Board of Trustees since its inception.”
Next steps for Haven include a robust vision for the future, which LaFrance outlined for celebration attendees. “We will work to ensure our entire community knows how to support our survivors by expanding the ambassador program, offering drop-in hours at various locations on campus, and working with student organizations to provide trauma-informed care,” she said.