University of Nebraska rolls out new Step Up training for safety and inclusion

LINCOLN, Neb. - Right now, the University of Nebraska is gearing up for a lot of new things: new students, new school year, and now a new training that aims to help students feel safer on campus.

The University of Nebraska is preparing for a lot of new stuff this year, between new students, a new school year, and now, new safety training. (Source: KOLN)

This semester, Nebraska is offering Step UP! training. The goal is if students see something that could lead to a dangerous situation, they'll know how to step up and speak up.

Step UP! is a 90 minute bystander intervention training program.

"We really want students to step up and make a difference and it's all about building a culture of care and helping students take care of each other," said Connie Boehm, Director of Big Red Resilience and Well-Being.

This week, 40 students completed the Step UP! training.

"It really highlighted the fact that a lot of people might see something and not say something," said Kamia Parks, who completed training. "It made me want to be the person who says something because it could really help a person out."

The University says the goal of the training is to prevent the "Bystander Effect."

"In big groups, people tend to think the responsibility isn't on them to step up and say something," Parks said. "But it doesn't have to be direct. It can be as simple as saying to someone else, 'Hey, did you see what just happened?' And then formulating a way to resolve the situation before it becomes negative or dangerous."

This isn't the first time Nebraska has had bystander intervention training, but the University says it is the most comprehensive.

"It's been done in a variety of different areas, for many years," Boehm said. "This is just one kind of comprehensive, all of us saying we are going to be using the Step Up training."

The training is open to everyone, and covers topics ranging from academic dishonesty to dangerous alcohol consumption to sexual assault on campus.

"They said, 'This could be happening on campus,'" Parks said. "It was like, 'What would you do if you saw this happening on campus in front of you? It just made it more relatable."

Big Red Resilience says this year, the goal is to get 500 students trained with Step UP! but ultimately, they want it to be a requirement for all students.