ASWSU member works to prevent assault

Student works with 10 committees to support health, protect women

Catherine+Dunn%2C+director+of+Health+and+Safety%2C+discusses+strategies+for+increasing+campus+safety+Tuesday+in+the+ASWSU+office.
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ASWSU member works to prevent assault

Catherine Dunn, director of Health and Safety, discusses strategies for increasing campus safety Tuesday in the ASWSU office.

Catherine Dunn, director of Health and Safety, discusses strategies for increasing campus safety Tuesday in the ASWSU office.

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Catherine Dunn, director of Health and Safety, discusses strategies for increasing campus safety Tuesday in the ASWSU office.

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Catherine Dunn, director of Health and Safety, discusses strategies for increasing campus safety Tuesday in the ASWSU office.

VONNAI PHAIR, Evergreen reporter

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Catherine Dunn, a senior political science major, is ASWSU’s Director of Health and Safety.

Dunn’s passion for working to prevent violence, especially against women, shows through her involvement in ASWSU.

“One thing that surprised me about this position was how often people reach out to you as a resource with their own problems,” Dunn said.

The journey to holding this position within ASWSU involved many stepping stones. Before Dunn reached her junior year, she held numerous leadership positions within her sorority and business fraternity.

Dunn spent this past summer interning for Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse. She worked with victims of violence one-on-one, an experience that inspired her to join ASWSU in August. She said she wanted to help people before they reached a point where violence is their reality.

“It’s more preventative matters, which is a lot of what we do here at ASWSU for health and safety,” Dunn said.

As the sole director under the Department of Health and Safety, Dunn holds the responsibility for her position within ASWSU. She said feeling spread thin can be challenging, but not overwhelming.

Dunn said health and safety was one of the larger positions in ASWSU. She’s clocked the most hours out of every director.

ASWSU Vice President Tyler Parchem said she helped him maintain a sense of importance when they worked on issues of student safety. He said this sense of urgency when advocating for things on campus is what really brings change.

“[Dunn] was always a voice prioritizing student safety, not only to us, but also to higher level administrators,” Parchem said.

In addition to her executive responsibilities within ASWSU, Dunn works on about 10 committees throughout the year, ranging from the topics of sexual violence to mental health. She even works on a committee that determines new regulations for stoplights on campus.

“I’m the student body’s representative on committees dealing with health and safety, like Green Dot Committee and Mental Health Collaborative Committee,” Dunn said.

These committees give students a voice and an outlet for opinions and concerns at WSU, she said.

Earlier this year, Dunn put on Project Fearless, an art show spotlighting the effects of sexual violence. She also helped organize Mental Health Awareness Week to spread the word about resources on WSU and raise money for the ASWSU health fund. Just this week, Dunn brought a program to campus called GTC High Impact Training, which is a program that covers consent and communication.

Although Dunn is majoring in a field unrelated to health and safety, she said her time on ASWSU inspired her to consider a career path within the field of health when she had not before. Dunn also said ASWSU helped her see the potential she possesses within herself.

“It has made me a lot more confident in who I am and what I am capable of,” Dunn said.