Empower AU is American University's homegrown, nationally recognized, peer-led sexual violence prevention program. It is informed by the student voice, grounded in research, and assessed on an annual basis.
Every incoming undergraduate student must attend an Empower AU Workshop. Most new students will go through Empower AU with their orientation group during Eagle Summit. If you will not attend Eagle Summit, please contact the Wellness Center for information about make up sessions, or refer to the FAQ below. Several make up sessions will be held throughout Fall and Spring semesters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Empower AU covers a wide range of topics that intersect with the perpetration of sexual violence on college campuses: cultural understandings of sexuality and sexual behavior; community standards for respect and consent; sexual communication; boundaries; alcohol and risk reduction; bystander intervention skills; and campus resources.
Empower AU is grounded in the socio-ecological model of health promotion and behavior change, as well as the latest research on sexual violence prevention.
Assessment is conducted annually and includes a pre-test, post-test, and six week follow up. The assessment primarily measures knowledge attainment and retention, as well as comfort levels with sexual communication, accessing campus resources, and intervening in concerning situations.
Assessment indicates that Empower AU significantly improves students' understanding of consent, knowledge of key campus resources, willingness to communicate about consent, confidence in reading and responding to their partners' verbal and non-verbal cues, and willingness to intervene in concerning situations.
For more information, see this infographic detailing our most recent assessment (AY 2016-2017).
Yes. Empower AU is mandatory for all incoming undergraduate students.
This mandate was requested and lobbied for by student activists, student government, and staff experts.
If you did not attend Eagle Summit, the Wellness Center will contact you with a request that you attend one of several make up sessions. Make up sessions are typically scheduled throughout the semester, and are offered on both week nights and weekends. You will have ample time to attend a make up session.
Students that do not attend an Empower AU workshop will be referred to Student Conduct for sanctioning. Luckily, the sanction for missing Empower AU is simply to attend a make up workshop.
Those who have not attended a makeup workshop by the end of the designated period will have a hold placed on their Student Account. This prevents you from registering for or dropping classes.
To remove the hold, students will need to complete a review of the Empower AU workshop on their own time, complete a written assignment, and return it to the Wellness Center for review. If the assignment is sufficient, the Wellness Center staff will notify the Student Conduct Office, removing the account hold.
The Wellness Center staff has developed a culturally competent International version of Empower AU in collaboration with AU Abroad and International Student Scholar Services. While the content remains the same, the curriculum has been adjusted to reflect concepts and examples that will be more recognizable to international audiences.
AU Abroad students will be notified of the time and date of your International Empower AU workshop. It will most likely take place during your initial orientation to the University. This workshop is for students who are fully fluent in English.
International Accelerator students will be assigned a more general program about student wellness. This program will also occur during Accelerator orientation.
If you are concerned about the content being upsetting or triggering to you for whatever reason, please contact one of our confidential advocates by emailing OASIS@american.edu.
To inquire about bringing Empower AU to your campus, please email the American University Wellness Center with the subject line: "Empower AU Curriculum at [University Name]." We are happy to talk more about program content and answer any questions you might have.