By Kayli Hertel – Managing Editor
Most people recognize pink awareness ribbons as support for breast cancer, yellow as support for the troops and purple as support for domestic violence. But over the past week students across campus have been sporting white bracelets and ribbons. What do these white ribbons mean and what do they support?
The White Ribbon Campaign started in 1991 and is an internationally recognized campaign. The campaign stresses the importance of involving men in the discussion of being against sexual and domestic violence. As a part of Professor Karin Raye’s Promoting Social Activism class, the students wanted to specifically engage the men of Lasell.
After going to the State House to learn more about Title IX, the class decided to make a banner and host it all around campus for men to sign. The planning for the banner started in the second day of the class. In addition to the pledge there were also informational posters and a sign up sheet for those who wanted to receive updates on upcoming projects and events.
Mallorie Smith, who tabled with Chris Pittman on the last day, feels that the Promoting Social Activism class is very different from others she’s taken. “This is a hands-on class; it’s not a normal class. It’s a service learning class so it’s all about the events. We are actually getting out, into our school and having people doing things with us,” said Smith.
The banner reads the following pledge: “From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending sexual and domestic violence.” And since Monday, March 9th the banner has been seen at various locations on campus where more than 300 individuals have signed it.
The first man to sign the pledge was none other than President Michael Alexander followed by several members of the faculty including Steve Bloom, Vice President of Academic Affairs Jim Ostrow, Vice President of Business and Finance Michael Hoyle and Professor Denny Frey.
“Sexual and domestic violence has long been a serious problem in society, and also on college campuses. Lately, it has received increased attention in the media and from politicians and others in government,” said Alexander who believes that men are crucial when it comes to standing up for the cause.
While the banner was only for men to sign there was another activity that encouraged everyone to participate in. Students, women especially, had the option to pose for a photo with a sign with an important message. Some signs contained facts and others gave individuals the opportunity to share their own message.
Earlier in the semester Raye’s class held a Title IX training event and plan to hold another after spring break. That date is undetermined as of now but the training will include the White Ribbon Campaign banner in the discussion. As a part of the class, each student has to come up with his or her own event to host on campus over the semester.
“I think [the campaign] is a really good thing. I think it’s important for men to stand up and to realize times have changed and everyone should be treated equally,” said Pittman, who is the only male student in the class. Raye hopes to hold the class each semester and keep the main focus on promoting activism but with an emphasis on sexual and domestic violence issues. For more information on the White Ribbon Campaign and how you can get involved contact Raye at KRaye@lasell.edu.