Elizabethtown College students unite to ‘Take Back the Night’
Students and faculty members came together at Elizabethtown College to spread an important message across campus and beyond on the night of Monday, April 3. The message: the need for continuing efforts toward the fight against sexual assault on college campuses.
The event was sponsored by the Office of Student Wellness and the Mosaic House, a campus-owned property intended for the College’s diverse population to gather and have small events. Student organizations such as the Elizabethtown College Dance Team and Melica, the all-female a cappella group, also were involved in making the event as powerful as possible.
Captain of The Elizabethtown College Dance Team, Jessica Feldmiller, spoke on behalf of the group, saying the members were extremely excited to be able to perform at the event. It wasn’t a normal performance for them, she said. Unlike a basketball game, this event “worked to raise awareness for a sensitive subject and gave us the opportunity to extend our support,” Feldmiller said.
The keynote speaker for the night’s events, Stephanie Collins, interim coordinator of multicultural programs at the College and an E-town alumnus, had a lot of positive advice for both victims and advocators. Her overall hope for the event, she said, was to help these students feel empowered to fight back with the right resources. “I want them to know that they are not alone,” she said.
Collins kept the night’s events at a conversational tone by sharing personal stories that had affected her. She believes this was the most impactful way to spread the message. “People need to feel personally connected in order to make a difference.”
After the performances and keynote speaker, a march began across campus to the Mosaic House. Students chanted, sang and danced along the way. On reaching the Mosaic House, the night’s second event began: The Speak-out.
Students took turns listening to stories of both advocacy and survival from their fellow E-town students.
Pleasant Sprinkle-Williams, a first-year mass communications major, said the march portion was easily her favorite part of the night. The night, she said, had a “huge impact on her” because she has family members and friends who are survivors of sexual and domestic assault/abuse. “I learned about myself and others in ways I didn’t expect.”
Collins said she was happy with the overall turnout. Her further hope, she said, is to watch the program grow and flourish. “It is less about numbers and more about impact when it comes to a program like this.”
~ E-town NOW guest writer is Megan Finnegan. She is currently a rising senior at Elizabethtown College, working on her degree in English Professional Writing as well as her two minors, Human Services and Women and Gender Studies.