Today: May 29, 2024

VPAS prepares to ‘Take Back the Night’

Lexi White- General Reporter

Many universities lack support groups for victims of sexual or domestic violence. Fortunately, the home of the Owl’s has the Violence Prevention Victim Advocacy and Support center,  VPAS, for those who need resources. 

VPAS provides prevention education on sexual misconduct on campus. Because April is sexual assault awareness and prevention month, VPAS hosts “Take Back the Night” every year to support the survivors of violent acts.  

Photo: Kaylee Blake

Biology major Clarisse Aminawung, a senior, is a member of VPAS and said that their yearly April march draws a lot of attention. They usually order about 150 giveaway items for students who participate, and by the end of the event, all the items are gone.  

“We want to provide a thriving community where students feel safe and where we can educate people on sexual misconduct, so people know what to look out for,” Aminawung said.  

To promote “Take Back the Night,” VPAS set up a table in the Engleman Rotunda and gave out flyers containing information on the event to students. VPAS also handed out an assortment of candy and stress balls to those who were looking at the table and seeing what VPAS stands for.  The organization hopes students will come to the event and see there is support for survivors on campus.  

Special education major Taylor Wasilewski, a junior, is another member of VPAS who was helping to promote their march at the end of April. Wasilewski said that their resource center can take a big weight off people’s shoulders.  

“We want students to know that help is available,” Wasilewski said. “In our ‘Take Back the Night’ event, there is just a feeling of pure empowerment to know that you are not alone.” 

A student who took notice of VPAS’s display, was special education major Addison Small, a senior. Small decided to volunteer at “Take Back the Night” later this month. 

“This is an outlet and a safe space for people who need it where they are not judged,” Small said. “To have a safe space is another step closer to a safe campus.” 

Another student who was drawn to the message VPAS shared was collaborative special education and elementary education major Savannah Borrelli, a junior. Borrelli will also be attending “Take Back the Night.” 

“Their message is important for awareness, and they strive to have a safe place,” Borrelli said. “They are a really good organization to have around, and they work really hard to make campus safer.” 

The event starts with a march at the academic quad and goes all the way to the residential quad. While marching, those attending make their concerns heard by chanting the whole way.  

VPAS then gives student survivors a chance to tell their stories in an attempt to help others realize that they are not alone. For those who do not want to speak in front of everybody, VPAS provides notes for students to write their stories anonymously. This year, “Take Back the Night” will be held on Thursday, April 25.  

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