Matt Pfouts is a persistent and innovative student at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. He is pursuing a degree in Business and Communication with a concentration in Marketing. Matthew is a self-starter and believes that everyone has a purpose or calling to help make our world a better place. His purpose: Educate and empower women to lead happy, healthy, and successful lives. Inparticular, sexual assault violence awareness has been one of his greatest passions. Extremely ambitious and big picture focused, he desires to think outside the box to create meaningful campaigns to change other people’s lives.
Matt is the manager of the Women’s Volleyball Team at Wittenberg. In 2011, the team won the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball National Championship. Through his experience with the players and coaching staff, Matthew has realized that every person has a special role on any team. He has learned that team work, collective will, persistence, and a positive attitude are all crucial components to achieving goals. His Wittenberg Volleyball family has been the inspiration for some of the projects he has created to address sexual violence.
Two years ago one of Matt’s best friends was sexually assaulted. Sitting in his room one night crying he blamed himself, “I wish there was something I could have done to protect her.” As more victims shared their stories with him, the pain only got worst. Matt knew that he couldn’t sit back and do nothing. He found comfort and resolution in One Student and decided to take action.
A light bulb went off in his head. “Finally there is an organization that cares more about helping victims rather than blaming rapists.” Inspired, Matt created a campaign using One Student’s message to promote sexual violence awareness on campus. His strategy focused on unifying and involving student leaders as spokespeople. These people were then displayed on posters in men’s and women’s restrooms across campus. The posters were accompanied with tear off post it notes with local police and administrators who could help student victims 24/7. This was extremely beneficial for students living in residence halls. Having this information in restrooms provided victims and bystanders alike a convenient, readily accessible way to address a sexual assault at the moment it occurs.
A No Woman Left Behind Chapter was established on campus which he is currently Co-President of with his friend Jordyn Baker. Together, the duo has helped create a culture that is empowered to talk about sexual health issues. With the help of their advisor Dana Carnes and over a dozen organization members, they have produced some very memorable programs including “Naked Truth Week” which discussed sexual health as well as ways to become an advocate for sexual violence awareness. When Matt and Jordyn have solidified and inspired many students. Upon graduation, the campaign and the NWLB chapter will continue to leave a lasting impact on the Wittenberg community.
One of Matt’s favorite quotes is: “Creativity has the power to transform human behavior.” Matt believes that change happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. Sexual assault is not a comfortable thing to address because it’s hard and painful. Even in the light of something grim we must remain hopeful. Matt is grateful that One Student and its campaigns continue to inspire people like him to strive for change and live in a world free of sexual violence.