Is your campus considering partnering with Callisto? Are you interested in learning more about what a Callisto Campus is? We asked some of our current partner schools to share some insights on being a Callisto Campus.

What drew you to Callisto?

In becoming a Callisto Campus, it is important to identify how the platform’s capabilities will best serve your campus community. For some of our partners, it was the survivor-centered, trauma-informed foundation to the approach. For others, it was the possibility of accessing/supporting survivors who the administration felt were not being best served by the current reporting options.

It was clear from the very beginning that the concept of Callisto was created by and for survivors of sexual assault as a legitimate vehicle to increase the reporting of sexual violence on campus….We know the prospect of reporting in person could and does intimidate many students to the point where not reporting becomes a viable option. Having a student write their own narrative, at their own pace, in their own space, and on their own terms seemed like a legitimate alternative.” –Daren Mooko, Associate Dean & Title IX Coordinator, Pomona College

Callisto provides alternate reporting options for survivors in order to help give them more agency over their own story. We know that feeling in control of the reporting/recovery process can help prevent symptoms such as depression or post-traumatic stress for survivors, so we strive to create a safe environment where survivors have the tools to write their own narrative on the road to recovery.

“I originally saw some publicity about Callisto in Fall 2015 and was intrigued by its capabilities and trauma-informed approach. Several colleagues and students sent me information over the course of the year about Callisto so I knew there was other interest as well.” – Tom Hicks, Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator, Coe College

The National Center for Campus Public Safety promotes the benefits of a trauma-informed response to sexual assault by pointing out that this type of approach encourages survivor participation, helps coordinators and investigators gather accurate information, and promotes both agency and fairness. The Not Alone Report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has reinforced the importance of trauma-informed response. Partnering with Callisto shows alignment with the Task Force recommendations, provides survivor support, and improves campus investigations.

What were barriers/gaps in your existing sexual assault response that you felt Callisto could address?

The issue of campus sexual assault is multifaceted, and combating it involves a collaboration of efforts from different angles. Callisto’s capabilities serve each unique campus’s needs in order to reinforce the existing survivor support services. At Pomona, the matching functionality specifically addressed the reluctance of survivors to come forward that Daren Mooko was seeing, and at Central College students spoke to their desire for an online reporting option.

“We were quite intrigued and impressed with the ‘matching’ component to Callisto. I have worked with numerous students who have disclosed an assault to me but do not wish to move forward with a formal case for understandable reasons. One reason, however, they often state for moving forward is their desire for the alleged perpetrator to not attack someone else. The ‘matching’ feature addresses this very common dynamic in a highly creative way.” – Daren Mooko

As a small campus, our campus climate data and Clery numbers are relatively low. What I know, however, is that students are experiencing more unwanted sexual contact than they were reporting to me as Title IX Coordinator. Students said they would like an online option for reporting, and Callisto fits that need well.”  – Peggy Fitch, Vice President for Student Development & Title IX Coordinator, Central College

Each survivor’s journey is different, and Callisto Campuses recognize the need for a survivor-first approach in order to create a safe space for their students.

How does your campus fund Callisto?

We know that Callisto is an investment, and resources need to be allocated for a multitude of programs to support the campus community. Current partners have gone through different channels to secure funding for Callisto, including student government, cross-departmental budget proposals, and applying for grant funding.

“At the end of the academic year Student Senate wanted to address some bigger-picture items with their unspent monies and decided to fund the first year and implementation of Callisto. Knowing there was both social and financial support for Callisto made it easier to us to commit. Ultimately, we adopted Callisto at the will of our students.” – Tom Hicks

We want to ensure that all campuses who want to provide Callisto to their community have the ability to do so, and we do our best to work with potential partners to find a way to support a partnership. As a non-profit, we see ourselves as colleagues in the work, not just a service provider. Our passion for sexual assault prevention and response guides our work as an organization.

What impact have you seen in the community since becoming a Callisto campus? 

The Callisto team works with each of their partners to create personalized success metrics against which to measure the partnership. For some, access to the aggregate data on user trends that Callisto provides helps schools successfully identify patterns and take actionable steps to create a safer campus and a more informed community. For others, like Pomona, increased trust of students in the institution marked the positive impact of adopting Callisto.

Callisto has had a significant positive impact on our campus. The most consistent feedback I receive from students is that while most students don’t have the need to fill out a report, they appreciate the fact that Callisto is there if they should ever need it. This has translated into increased student confidence in the institution that reports of sexual violence are not only taken seriously, they are highly encouraged. This positive impact is difficult to quantify and very easy to detect.” – Daren Mooko

Providing survivor-centered care and alternative reporting options to students contributes to the overall sentiment in the community of support and trust. By showing survivors that the school takes sexual assault seriously, they’re more likely to come forward. By showing perpetrators that the school takes sexual assault seriously, they’ll know that there is a greater chance that they’ll be held accountable for their actions.  

What was the Callisto implementation process like?

The Callisto team works to create a fluid process of implementation with its partners. It’s important to us to ensure that partnering with Callisto does not create a burden on our already busy administrative partners, but rather makes their jobs easier.

“Understanding this is a new platform and Pomona was one of two pilot schools, I knew implementation and launching were potentially difficult processes…What I was not expecting, however, was the flexibility that the staff at Callisto demonstrated with respect to the structure and some functions of the site. The consistent, clear and professional communication with the Callisto staff made the implementation and launch pain-free! This seamless implementation, therefore, allowed us to focus on promotion and how to educate the campus community about this new resource.” –Daren Mooko

“Unlike other software solution implementations I have participated in, Callisto did much of the back-end work which made implementation on Coe’s end very easy.” – Tom Hicks

During the implementation process, the Callisto team works very closely with the Title IX Coordinator to ensure that they know how to download and decrypt reports, have what they need to train student leaders, faculty, and staff on Callisto, and that the IT department is aware of and in support of Callisto’s commitment to privacy and security. By engaging all involved parties early on, we are able to streamline implementation and launch.

What has it been like working with the Callisto team?

Partnering with Callisto is a collaborative endeavor. Our team seeks to create as supportive a partnership as possible so that our partners can continue to focus on prevention, education, and support.

“They are very responsive and seek to make Callisto as good as it can be. I always receive quick and informative responses. They have made it easy to implement and get information out to campus.” –Tom Hicks

“The Callisto team has been fantastic! They have been knowledgeable, patient and helpful as I navigated the process of getting approval here, setting up and launching the website. They are true professionals who care deeply about empowering students and providing institutions with tools needed to serve them well.”  – Peggy Fitch

A Callisto partnership is about serving a whole community, including the administrators who provide support to students every day.

How did you integrate Callisto into the campus community?

Teaching the campus community about Callisto and integrating it into the sexual assault response program is an important part of the partnership. There are many touchpoints in a campus community that provide support to students, and Peggy Fitch at Central College shared their process of implementation on her campus.

“We developed a coordinated communication plan to launch Callisto at Central. As Title IX Coordinator, I introduced the website to residence life staff during their August training using the TED talk by Jessica Ladd and slides provided by the Callisto team. Shortly after this I made presentations to our Wellness Educators and Student Senate so they could help me anticipate questions students might ask and be ambassadors for Callisto. I introduced Callisto to the Student Development Committee of the Board of Trustees at their fall meeting. The week we launched the website I sent emails to students, faculty and staff immediately following an announcement about Callisto at a campus-wide community meeting.  For the next few days the posters and flyers went up around campus and business cards were distributed to staff and faculty in all departments. We also added the Callisto logo to our Title IX posters that list confidential resources and where to report.”  – Peggy Fitch

The Callisto team provides its partners with promotional materials like posters, buttons, and stickers to distribute around campus to help bring awareness to the community as well as sample email and website language. The success of Callisto is directly tied to its impact on each individual campus we partner with. When we partner with campuses, we are joining together to improve the response to sexual assault and show the community that sexual assault is not acceptable.

What has the Callisto team been surprised about?

Throughout the process, there have been some things that stood out to us as unexpected or surprising.

  1. Many students have used Callisto to process through what happened and save details of the assault, but instead of reporting electronically, are choosing to print out a copy of their details and go speak with the Title IX Coordinator in person. This has shown us the value of providing an electronic way to document what happened.
  2. We have been pleasantly surprised by how involved student leaders have been in getting the word out to their peers about Callisto. Whether in be student government, student advocates, or RAs, we’ve found that word-of-mouth is the most valuable way for students to learn about Callisto. This has also been reaffirmed in seeing that the majority of Callisto users are typing the URL directly into their web browser rather clicking on a link that they find on the school site.
  3. As Daren from Pomona mentioned, we have found some really interesting trends in site traffic, specifically around break periods. There is increased usage on the site immediately before and after Fall Break, Semester Break, and Spring Break across campuses.
  4. A gap that we have just begun to bridge is students’ comfort in speaking with other students about sexual assault. Not only are students nervous about saying the wrong thing, they also feel like they don’t have the tools to support others who have experienced sexual assault. We have built out resources specifically to address this and are increasing our site content around helping a friend to better meet this need.

As Krista Kronstein, the Sexual Misconduct Coordinator at Coe College, said, “Each person [at Callisto] seems to really care about the product and making sure that we, as a consumer, feel supported and understand the product well.” The information that we learn is used to help our administrators create a campus culture that rejects sexual assault and believes and supports survivors.

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