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Kim Colavito Markesich
UConn Traditions magazine, Spring 2002
Eric Bulewich ’02 (SFS) credits his father for guiding him toward a career in counseling. “He’s been a great influence in my life,” Eric says. “My father was very understanding and open. That reflects in my ability to listen.”
Two summers ago, Bulewich volunteered to participate in the Violence Against Women Prevention Program. Out of that experience, Bulewich, and Orlando Wright ’01 (SFS) laid the foundation for a new program within the UConn Women’s Center called Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW).
Through MAVAW, Bulewich and other trained volunteer facilitators, along with a campus police officer, offer an interactive program through which participants increase their understanding about what constitutes sexual assault and how to prevent it. The program has been presented to residential communities, fraternities, and athletic teams. Participants are asked to assess various scenarios and discuss perceptions in defining consensual sexual activity. Throughout the program, participants discuss behaviors and misconceptions surrounding typical dating scenarios.
MAVAW has been well received by students and faculty. Says Bulewich, “They believe, as I do, that men play a very important role in the prevention of violence against women.”
The men who participate in the program offer positive feedback, Bulewich says, and many explain how the program has made an impact on their lives.
Last year, Bulewich was a speaker at several violence prevention programs, including presentations at other area colleges. “I am most impressed with Eric’s participation because the program really requires presenters to challenge their understanding of masculinity…challenging societal norms is a very difficult thing to do,” says Lorraine Trippodi, former coordinator of the Violence Against Women Prevention Program at UConn. “It requires a great deal of courage, self confidence and conviction.”
Encouraged by Kim Chambers, manager of the Instructional Resource Center, Bulewich became a peer mentor during his sophomore year. Last year, Bulewich participated in the UConn Connects program as a peer counselor to students on academic probation. This year, as a senior, he is a resident assistant in Belden Hall in the Alumni Quadrangle.
“Eric shows great concern for his fellow students as evidenced by his working with them in various advisory capacities,” says Chambers. “He takes his responsibilities and his relationships seriously and is making the best of his time as a UConn undergraduate.”
What drives Bulewich to work with such difficult issues? “For me, it’s on a personal level. I have a friend and several acquaintances who have been sexually assaulted and I really want to try and make a difference…to use my advantage of being male in our society as my strength. I think most men are sensitive to the subject, but because they’re not directly affected, there’s no need for them to be aware.
Bulewich plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in social work. UConn is at the top of his list. “UConn is a great place to be,” he says. “All the recent developments on campus just add to the college experience.”