Fraternity to combat assault through awareness week

By Valerie Palmer

On Tuesday, the Rider community is in for a treat. Sigma Phi Epsilon (SPE) brothers will be walking around campus in high heels.

“We’re going to try and get Public Safety to close off the Campus Mall, so we can walk around, maybe a few laps,” said sophomore marketing major and Sexual Assault and Violence Education week coordinator Brandon Ferris.

“We’re going to try to get donations from people too, or have people bid on us to see how many laps we can do.”

On Oct. 19 through Oct. 23, SPE will be introducing their first Sexual Assault and Violence Education week (SAVE).

SAVE week serves as a campuswide event intended to educate the Rider community about sexual assault.

All proceeds raised throughout the week will go to the Joyful Heart Foundation, whose mission is to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

“This event could not be more timely, especially with all of the recent events that have occurred on campus and are happening nationally,” said Ferris. “SPE wants to help students be at the forefront of the battle against sexual assault and violence.”

Ferris attended a national conference for SPE chapters in northern Iowa, where his inspiration for SAVE week was born.

“They hold a sexual abuse week also and were telling us about it,” he said. “I thought I should bring it to campus. With the recent things that have been happening, I think that this would be really helpful.”

In order to spread the word about SAVE week, Ferris, along with help from his SPE brothers, will be posting flyers around campus. Starting Monday, they will be setting up tables around campus with sexual assault awareness signs.

“We’re going to have people take pictures and we will be posting on Twitter and Instagram. We’re going to use the hashtag #SigEpSAVES so we can get a big social media push,” he said.

On Wednesday, the brothers of SPE will be selling wristbands in front of Daly’s, in the Student Recreational Center (SRC) near Starbucks, and inside Cranberry’s all day.

“The wristbands are going to be red and gold, which are two of our colors,” he said. “They’re going to say #SigEpSaves on one side and Sig Ep SAVE Week and probably cost $2.” A self-defense class is in the process of being planned for Thursday. A teacher is still  needed to lead the class.

“We’ve planned for one class to be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the SRC and we’re still looking for another room for another class from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone is welcome, guys and girls,” he said.

On Friday, Prevention Education Coordinator Susan Stahley will be speaking at her own program called “Open for Business.”

“‘Open for Business’ will be an open discussion led by Susan,” Ferris said. “People will be able to ask questions and get a better understanding of the consequences of sexual assault. We want this to be a campus-wide event, and we’re not advertising just for girls, guys can be affected also. It’s important to feel safe on campus.”

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