Chancellor Johnson Announces SUNY’s Got Your Back Challenge to Assemble the 100,000th Comfort Kit by Year End for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

August 7, 2019

Public Invited to Help at August Events Including the Aurora Games in Albany and PGA TOUR Champions DICK’S Sporting Goods Open in Endicott

Events at 18 SUNY Campuses already scheduled this Fall to Meet the Chancellor’s Challenge

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson announced a challenge to the SUNY’s Got Your Back campaign to assemble the 100,000th comfort kit by year-end for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. SUNY delivers the kits to hospitals, shelters, and rape crisis centers across the state. The program, which began in April 2016, has grown in close collaboration with the NYS Office of Victim Services to help survivors, as well as build awareness of programs to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

"At each SUNY’s Got Your Back event, we are touched by the overwhelming response from New Yorkers, as well as students, faculty, and staff to help our campaign and make a difference for the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "We are thankful to each volunteer, and appreciate the tremendous support from the Office of Victim Services, the PGA TOUR Champions DICK’S Sporting Goods Open, and the Aurora Games."

The public is invited to help the campaign at August events, including the Aurora Games in Albany and the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, where the 75,000th comfort kit will be assembled. Additional events have been scheduled at 18 SUNY campuses during the months of September and October, with others to be added this year to meet Chancellor Johnson’s challenge. For a calendar of events please go to: www.suny.edu/gotyourback.

Aurora Games Executive Producer Jerry Solomon said, "We are particularly happy to be working with SUNY’s Got Your Back, which is doing great things in the community. In addition to creating a new and unique platform for women’s sports, the fact that we can also provide opportunities for various cause related organizations serves to reinforce the power and reach of women’s sports and sports in general. I hope people will stop by the SUNY tables and pack some bags!"

DICK’S Sporting Goods Open Tournament Director, John Karedes said, "We are proud to partner with SUNY’S Got Your Back for the third consecutive year. We have had the opportunity to play a small role within the organization’s significant cause, and look forward to another successful event during DICK'S Sporting Goods Open Week!"

In 2018, the SUNY’s Got Your Back campaign received nearly $5 million in funding through the Office of Victim Services, which will enable SUNY to assemble 225,000 comfort bags by 2021.

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "We are so proud of our continued partnership with the SUNY's Got Your Back campaign, which has already brought comfort and support to thousands of victims of sexual and interpersonal violence. These crimes can have a devastating effect on a victim, but the bags and this program let them know that they are not alone as they begin their path to healing."

About SUNY’s Got Your Back

SUNY’s Got Your Back provides the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members from across New York State to create comfort kits for victims and survivors of violence, and to learn methods of better preventing and responding to violence.

Each comfort bag contains personal essential hygiene products to assist victims with self-care—soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb and deodorant—a pen, notepad, a stress ball, and an affirming message from a volunteer. Critically, the bags also contain information about available support services and educational materials intended to alert victims of their rights under state law. By enlisting the help of students to assemble the bags, the program will also help to raise awareness on SUNY campuses of sexual assault and domestic violence issues. Learn more at www.suny.edu/gotyourback or follow on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Office of Victim Services

OVS provides a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members who have been victimized through no fault of their own and have no other means of assistance. The agency compensates and reimburses eligible individuals and family members for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, and loss or damage of essential personal property, in addition to other assistance.

In addition, the Office of Victim Services currently funds more than 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, such as counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, across New York State. For more information about services offered by the agency, including eligibility guidelines, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

Additional Information and Resources

The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711. New York State also supports and funds community-based programs to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes, including these Domestic Violence Resources, a network of victim assistance programs funded by the state Office of Victim Services, and Sexual Assault and Violence Response (SAVR) Resources—a multi-lingual resource created by SUNY to support students or any New Yorker in need of information and support.

State law prohibits hospitals or other medical providers from billing victims of sexual assault for the cost of a confidential forensic rape examination, unless those individuals choose to have the bill sent to their insurance. In every other instance, providers must directly bill the state Office of Victim Services. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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