Empower AU Consent, Communication, & Bystander Intervention

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 did not attend Eagle Summit or missed Empower AU while at Eagle Summit, you will need to attend a makeup session later in the semester. Please note: Several make up sessions will be held throughout Fall semester.


 Frequently Asked Questions

No. AU's online training (Alcohol Edu and Sexual Assault Prevention) is provided by EverFi, Inc. Empower AU is an in-person workshop led by AU students and created by the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services. Both programs are mandatory for incoming undergraduate students (including transfers). 

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. 

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 Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services will contact you with a request that you attend one of several makeup sessions. Makeup sessions are typically scheduled throughout the semester, and are offered on both week nights and weekends. You will have ample time to attend a makeup session. 

New undergraduate students who do not attend an Empower AU workshop will be given the opportunity to attend one of several makeup sessions.  If you do not complete an Empower AU makeup workshop, you may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices for conduct charges and/or sanctions. This could result in a hold being placed on your student account, which prevents you from registering or dropping classes. 

The Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services staff has developed a culturally competent international version of Empower AU in collaboration with AU Abroad and International Student and 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 Program (IAP) 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 dagne@american.edu.

To inquire about bringing Empower AU to your campus, please email us at dagne@american.edu 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.