What is Relationship Remix?
Relationship Remix is a nationally recognized collaborative program that helps students understand key components around consent, communication, decision-making, sexual health and healthy relationships. Participants reflect upon personal values, gain knowledge and build skills in a safe and fun environment to help them navigate relationships and life here at the University of Michigan. Student volunteers from the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and the University Health Service’s Sexperteam group conduct Relationship Remix: Workshops on Relationships, Sex, and Choice every fall semester for all first-year students throughout every residence hall on campus. The workshop is evaluated via surveys during the workshop, as well as six and twelve-month follow-up surveys.
Why Relationship Remix?
All members of the UM Community will be involved in a relationship at some point in their lives, whether it’s with a sibling, roommate, colleague, parent, dating or sexual partner, or someone else. We want U-M students to identify what a healthy relationship looks like for them so that their relationships are the best that they can be. In Student Life, we strive to enhance the student experience and promote success and achievement. Our definition of student success includes the development of wellness skills, and Relationship Remix was developed with this mission in mind. We are also aware of the growth areas on our campus. In a recent survey, 29% of UM undergraduates reported that in the last 12 months, an intimate relationship was traumatic or very difficult for them to handle (National College Health Assessment, 2014). In addition, roughly 1 in 4 University of Michigan female and 1 in 15 University of Michigan male undergraduate students reported experiencing some type of sexual assault within the past year (University of Michigan Campus Climate Survey, 2015). Relationship difficulties and experiences of sexual assault can have negative health impacts, while relationship and sexual satisfaction can have positive impacts. In accordance with public health principles for effective prevention programming, Relationship Remix is an evidence-based, locally-tailored program that models positive behaviors for healthy relationships.
Relationship Remix 2015 – By the Numbers!
Relationship Remix began it’s fifth consecutive year of workshops this past fall with an increase in numbers all over the board. This year:
147 student volunteers, between Sexperteam and SAPAC helped facilitate and evaluate remix
Workshops were provided in 14 different residence halls.
UM Housing contributed 46 members of residence hall leadership teams and around 400 residence life student staff to help market the program, liaise and problem solve with students, and encourage attendance.
162 workshops were coordinated, implemented, and evaluated by the 11 members of the remix leadership team
5,396 first year students, 87% of the incoming class, including 50% of all off-campus students compared to 2% the prior year were reached with Remix this year (the highest number of students we have ever reached).
We also conducted pre and post surveys and had 4,300 respondents, the most we have ever had.
Finally, in other accomplishments, we rolled out an online registration system with the assist of University of Michigan’s First Year Experience program, Auxiliary and Marketing, and UM IT department, aiding in the tracking and recording of registrations and attendance for the workshops.
Does it work?
As we have improved the logistics, training, content, and evaluation materials over the years, the impact of this workshop has only gotten better. This year, 2015, we saw an increase in EVERY single one of our objective measurements in the post survey given directly after the workshop. We ask a series of 8 questions to evaluate each of our objectives on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree. The largest improvements (of those choosing strongly agree and agree) came from students being better aware of the resources on the UM campus to help with relationships (29% increase), being able to define sexual assault (9% increase), identifying two strategies to reduce sexual health risk (10% increase), and knowing how to ask for consent (5% increase). In prior years, we have seen our results remain consistent through the 6 month and the 12 month survey given.
Five Years of Relationship Remix
Below is a table that summarizes the improvements and growth of Relationship Remix in the past five years. Our lowest attendance rate of 44% in 2012 has more than doubled this year in 2015. Our staffing and leadership involvement has grown with the incorporation of the new Community Matters team and the First Year Experience team. The number of students who have committed to this work has surpassed capacity for almost all of our organizations, showing the passion these students bring. In addition, our outcome measures in the earlier years have been inconsistent due to many students coming in believing they had high levels of understanding the different content and then realizing after the programs that they in fact didn’t. These measures have greatly improved with the revamping of our instrument and data collection methods to ensure clarity of the questions we are asking.
To all of our SAPAC volunteers, staff, and supporters, we want to say thank you for your commitment to end gender-based violence on the University of Michigan campus and your work to increase the effect and scope of this program. We hope this article highlights how impactful all of your support is and shows the difference we are truly making on this campus. To sum up our debrief, we wanted to share another aspect of Relationship Remix that we are so proud of and that is the impact that this program has had on our student volunteers, in addition to our campus community. Students from SAPAC’s Peer Education Program were asked “What was your favorite thing about Remix this fall?” Below is a graphic that includes some of their answers. Without the facilitators and evaluators, this program would not be possible. If you are interested in becoming more involved in Relationship Remix in the future or have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Katrina Daoud, MPH
Community Matters Project Coordinator