We welcome our new advocate, Erica Fries. Erica is a 2023 Miami University graduate. They have worked as our Women Helping Women advocate for over a month. They have been meeting students and campus partners and looking forward to serving our community. Learn more about Erica within this article. 

Q: Hi Erica, we are so glad to have you as an advocate. Before we dive in, can you share a little about yourself?

A: Hi! I’m so happy to be here! My name is Erica Fries, and I’m the new Women Helping Women (WHW) advocate on campus. I am Ohio-born and raised. More specifically, I’m from the Cincinnati area, so go Bengals, Skyline, Rumpke, and Reds, all that fun stuff. I graduated from Miami in May 2023 with a double major in Creative Writing and Literature. Obviously, I enjoy writing and reading in my free time. Currently, I’m reading Dune, but I am also an avid gamer and outdoor enthusiast, which are opposite ends of the spectrum. However, it’s good to touch grass sometimes. 

Q: What made you decide to become an advocate here at Miami Specifically?

A: I became an advocate for Miami because I just felt like there was a lack of a presence like mine on campus. I started my college life at Miami in 2018, so I got to see the campus before COVID-19 flipped the university and world on its head. The Miami before COVID was vastly different from the Miami of today – the administration’s focus shifted from putting a band-aid on alcohol consumption. Instead, they began to address the more real issues among their student body.

While I went to school here, I worked a lot of late nights Uptown and got more acquainted with the late-night aspect of Miami. There were nights when I felt myself worrying for the safety of some of the customers I served because of how inebriated they were in combination with the person(s) they were around. I always did what I could to make sure these people were well taken care of, but it always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, like I had such little to offer them to ensure their safety. Now, with my position as campus advocate, I feel like I can be more useful in the sense of guiding students to the resources that will help them the most.

Q: I know you have only been here a short while, but what has been your favorite part of the position thus far?

A: If I’m being totally honest, my favorite part of the position so far is the parking pass. Being a previous student, having your car on campus was a luxury itself, but a RED parking pass? My friends who still attend Miami have never been more envious in their lives…and are suddenly hounding me for rides to class.

In a more professional capacity, my favorite part of the position has been getting more familiar with Miami’s processes and policies, as weird as that may be. I’m the type of person where if I think it will benefit my work, and in this case my work is being a wealth of knowledge and resources for those that need it, I need to know the intricacies of the topic surrounding it. I’ve enjoyed getting knee deep in the University’s policies and familiarizing myself with how they are carried out so that I can then give a survivor a better idea of what is ahead of them.

Q: While in this role, what do you hope to accomplish?

A: In this role, I hope to encourage students to get the help they may need and build a strong relationship with them. As corny and mundane as it sounds, I really hope that with my presence more well-known, students will recognize me if they come to the point where they would need a person in my position. 

Q: As a former student of Miami University, what do you think students need to know to help end sexual violence on campus?

A: I think the most important thing for students to know in order to end sexual violence is that it’s something that can happen to anyone, not just those assigned female at birth. Once this becomes more widely accepted, I feel there will become more of a shift to end this sort of violence among students.

Q: Lastly, if a student needs to contact you for resources you offer or a student group wants to invite you to speak, where can they find you or contact you?

A: If students want to get in touch with me, they are more than welcome to email me anytime at Efries@womenhelpingwomen.org or swing by my office located in the SIVEO Suite in the Clinical Health Sciences Building, Room 1085. My office hours are from 9am-12pm and 12:30pm-5pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday (schedule here). I would love to get in touch with any student organizations that want to bring awareness of these services to their members and potentially host learning sessions offered through Women Helping Women, so please do not be a stranger!

Written by Morgan-Allison Moore, M.Div. (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Assistant Director, SIV Prevention and Outreach, Health Equity, and Access

Email: moorem23@miamioh.edu

This article was originally published in the newsletter ‘Courageous Connections.’ Subscribe here to stay up to date with resources, events, and ways to support survivors of sexual assault or interpersonal violence.