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The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

New Confidential Resource Advisor Hopes to Revamp Prevention Programming, Connect with Students

Photo+provided+by+Andrew+Shepard.
Photo provided by Andrew Shepard.

Andrew Shepard was hired as the new Confidential Resource Advisor (CRA), filling a position after a nearly semester-long vacancy.

Formerly known as the Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate (SAVA), the name was changed to be compliant with a new state law. The CRA helps with “support and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and other sexual misconduct,” according to the description on Bates’s Title IX website. 

Born and raised in the Sebago Lakes region of Maine, Shepard graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in reproductive justice where they had a special focus on sexual health and reproductive health care. 

“That’s where I say I got my initial spark for prevention and advocacy work,” Shepard said. “I was very active in campus-wide prevention in sexual health programming. And then I graduated right at the start of the pandemic right in 2020 and so I came back to Maine and started working primarily in the nonprofit social service field.

After graduating, they began working with Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) as director of education and community engagement. Part of their work encompassed supporting the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine in developing their respective CRA positions. 

“While I was in that role I specifically worked with local colleges and universities around Title IX policy development and campus-wide prevention programming,” Shepard said. It was there that they “found a passion for working with students on campus and really saw the beauty that college campuses provide, particularly small liberal arts colleges.”

After three years with SARSSM, they started a new role with Preble Streets as the anti-trafficking services housing supervisor.

“I supported caseworkers and provided case management specifically for folks that have experienced and been impacted by trafficking, both sex trafficking and labor trafficking and the intersections in between,” Shepard said, “and specifically oversaw a transitional housing program for trafficking survivors.” 

According to Shepard, this background along with their college experience is what drew them to Bates and working on college campuses.

“There is still a great amount of hope and joy and dedication to community-wide change that I see on college campuses that we may not necessarily see in other spaces,” Shepard said. “And I think that environment really allows for great discussion and dialogue around how do we all keep each other safe as active community members, and what our role looks like in that?”

This ties into their goal of bolstering prevention programming at Bates. “How can we strengthen collaboration with fellow students on campus to help foster campus cultures of consent, empathy and healthy sexuality, which we know are the foundations of primary prevention on campuses?” Shepard said.

Also essential to their work is “meeting folks where they’re at and approaching things from a non-judgmental lens,” Shepard said. “I have been working in advocacy and tangential fields for the past few years and something that I really focus on is how can we break down barriers, so folks have access and agency to whatever healing makes sense for them.”

Shepard hopes to build a presence on campus and develop relationships with students, even those not necessarily seeking support. “This allows me, particularly, to engage with students on their best days. And so that way, there’s a name to the face before they may be needing support on one of their worst,” Shepard said. “And so it allows for me to have an ongoing relationship with students throughout the academic year and to be fully present as a resource when needed.”

Shepard says they are looking forward to getting to know students and invites people to email [email protected] to set up an appointment for support or just to chat. 

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Ella Beiser
Ella Beiser, Editor-in-Chief
Ella is a Junior from Chicago double majoring in Politics and Hispanic Studies. In her free time, Ella enjoys hosting a WRBC radio show, working in the greenhouse and biking around Lewiston. She is the Editor in Chief of The Student and previously served as an Assistant News Editor and Assistant Features Editor for The Student. She freelances for her local newspaper the South Side Weekly, has been published in the Maine Monitor and Vocalo Radio and in summer 2023 she was a reporting intern for the Lewiston Sun Journal.
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