Campus News

UHS to replace Tonight program for first-year and transfer students

University Health Services recently announced the replacement of its current online violence prevention program, Tonight, with the U Got This! program, which debuts Aug. 1.

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In a continuation of UW-Madison’s efforts to combat sexual violence after a year in which three students were expelled for sexual misconduct, first-year and transfer students will complete a new program to learn about dating violence, sexual assault and violence prevention beginning this fall.

University Health Services recently announced the replacement of its current online violence prevention program, Tonight, with the U Got This! program, which debuts Aug. 1.

The four-year-old Tonight program’s replacement does not come as a surprise—after being introduced in 2013, it was intended to be used for around five years before being updated. UHS Violence Prevention Specialist Alex Nelson, who helped create much of the content that students will see in the new program, said that the main reason for the change of programs was to stay up-to-date with campus culture.

“As with any online program, especially a video-based program like Tonight, it is bound to get outdated very quickly,” Nelson said in an email. “Not only that, but the landscape of violence prevention has changed a bit as well. As an office dedicated to being on the cutting edge of technology and violence prevention best practices, we anticipated that the program could only stay ‘contemporary’ for about 3-5 years when it was first created.”

Much like Tonight, U Got This! will include both an online and an in-person component. The virtual program—educating students on violence prevention and UW-Madison policies surrounding it—will include four modules totaling 60 minutes. After completing the online program, students will be required to attend an in-person GetWIse workshop, which are 90 minutes long and expand on a variety of topics such as healthy sexuality, healthy relationships, how to support a survivor and bystander intervention.

Although U Got This! features a similar structure to the Tonight program, Nelson said the new program is more engaging due to its humor that responds to the emotions and actions of students.

“Students who have seen Tonight will likely notice several major differences, mainly in that the U Got This! program has a sense of humor,” Nelson said. “UGT is truly a dialogue. It remembers and responds to the students’ reactions while taking the program. For example, if a student gives a snarky response to a question, the program will respond back in a snarky manner.”

In addition to being engaging, UGT is providing opportunities for marginalized students to talk about their problems. The GetWIse workshop, along with offering students the opportunity to learn about topics such as healthy relationships and supporting survivors, offers closed sessions for LGBTQ and black students, according to Nelson.

First-year and transfer students are expected to complete the online part of U Got This! by Sept. 22 and the in-person WIse workshop by Dec. 15.

UPDATED July, 9 2017 3:57 p.m:. This story was updated to add additional information about the program.

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