SUNY Potsdam Campus Community Helps Assemble 250 Comfort Bags for Victims & Survivors of Sexual & Interpersonal Violence
Members of the SUNY Potsdam campus community worked to assemble 250 comfort bags for local victims and survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence, through the SUNY’s Got Your Back initiative.
SUNY’s Got Your Back provides the opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members from across the state to create comfort kits for victims and survivors of violence, and to learn methods of better preventing and responding to violence, as together we work to build a New York where these bags are no longer needed.
Each comfort bag contains personal essential hygiene products to assist victims with self-care–soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb and deodorant—plus a pen, notepad, a stress ball and an affirming message from a volunteer. Critically, the bags also contain information about available support services and educational materials intended to alert victims of their rights under state law. By enlisting the help of students to assemble the bags, the program also helps to raise awareness on SUNY campuses of sexual assault and domestic violence issues.
The kits assembled at today’s event by SUNY Potsdam students, faculty and staff will be donated to St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House and the St. Lawrence Health System.
Since its inception in 2016, the SUNY’s Got Your Back initiative has provided more than 50,000 comfort kits to victims and survivors of crime in New York State. In 2018, SUNY’s Got Your Back received $5 million in funding through the state Office of Victim Services, which allows SUNY to supply and distribute 225,000 comfort bags to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence seeking help at hospitals, shelters, and rape crisis centers across the state. The Office of Victim Services is providing the funding to SUNY over three years from money received through the federal Victims of Crime Act. The funding enables SUNY to purchase supplies for the bags and coordinate volunteers across the state to assemble them, including on each of SUNY’s 64 campuses.
To donate, volunteer or learn more about SUNY’s Got Your Back, visit www.suny.edu/gotyourback.
The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711.
To learn more about the New York State Office of Victim Services and its programs, visit http://ovs.ny.gov.
Locally, Renewal House services are available both for past and present situations, and for friends or family members who may need support or information for those they care about. Renewal House services include a 24/7 hotline, crisis intervention, emotional support, advocacy, support groups, safe housing, assistance with orders of protection, education, referrals, transportation and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. To find out more or make an appointment, call (315) 379-9845 or visit www.slvrenewalhouse.org.
Sexual assault and violence response resources are available online for all 64 SUNY campuses here: http://response.suny.edu.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.