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How Colgate is Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By ksaleet on April 24, 2018

Every ninety-eight seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. One in five American women and one in seventy-one American men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. And one in three American women and one in six American men will experience some sort of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. These statistics are deeply upsetting, and yet, they are a reality for far too many people.

Thankfully, awareness and recognition of sexual assault has been steadily growing since the turn of the century. As of 2001, the month of April has been officially deemed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. This is a time where people of all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds are invited to learn, reflect, and hopefully act on the unfortunately pervasive issues of sexual assault.

Here at Colgate, some great efforts and initiatives have been made for the most recent Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Many of these efforts are thanks to The Network, a sexual assault and domestic violence awareness group run out of the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education. In addition to hosting its usual weekly meetings, this past month The Network has hosted lectures focusing on issues like survivor support and off-campus resources. The Network also put together a powerful Take Back the Night March followed by a Speak Out for survivors of sexual violence. In total, approximately twenty different events were held across Colgate’s campus in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month hosted by The Network, Haven, the Women’s Studies Department, and the Chapel.

The events in honor of this important month all share a general theme and all aim to perpetuate a general set of values. Sexual assault and general sexual violence are things we at Colgate seek to combat through education, advocacy, and fervent support of survivors. We are constantly seeking to better our efforts and better ourselves, and this past month has been a purposeful illustration of that.

Caring & Connecting: A Crash Course in Community Civic Engagement Through Campus Compact

By ksaleet on January 15, 2018

Written by Oneida Shushe ’19

I landed in Boston very sleep deprived and hungry, not knowing what to expect of the 2017 Newman Civic Fellows National Conference. As I walked into the hotel lobby, I immediately made eye contact with welcoming faces. I stepped into a small group and asked everyone if they were also there for the conference, although I already knew the answer from the confidence, diversity, professionalism, and anticipation in the space. We exchanged names, schools, hometowns, majors, and projects as we made our way through the Boston metro system. When we arrived at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, there were about 200 critical-thinking, change-making, and initiative-taking young people in one room, each of them chosen as representatives from their universities. I was determined to learn as much as I could from them.

We were introduced to the president of Campus Compact and to each other. Initially, this was overwhelming, but as the program continued, I felt like the people around me could easily be my classmates. We bonded over our courses of study and our interests in social issues. One Newman Civic Fellow I met told me about her research in algal blooms, and I shared my research in biophysics. One fellow shared his devotion to building schools and promoting literacy in his home country of Nepal; I listened and asked questions to see if I could learn something to improve my project promoting oral health in Albania. I was refreshed by the diversity of backgrounds, identities, majors, and social justice areas represented in the group.

Important conversations about how to affect change began with a panel of public problems solvers in Boston. The most inspiring speaker for me was Adam John Foss, the founder and president of Prosecutor Impact—an organization promoting better outcomes for those affected by the US criminal justice system and institutionalized racism. Adam highlighted the single most important theme of the conference: individuals are affected in every dimension of life based on how aspects of their identity—like race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability—give them more or less power. The purpose of social justice work and civic engagement is to recognize and fight against these power imbalances. I am interested in addressing such injustices in the health field, but Adam’s message is also relevant to issues regarding the environment, education, gender, and every other issue area.

To close the first day, we shared our projects in conversations over dinner. I was inspired by peers working for gender equality, access to health and education across the world and against racism and other oppressive forces. One fellow was working on making feminine products more freely available at her school and advocating for the rights of vulnerable elderly people, another student was fighting for food security in affected communities, and yet another shared his efforts to make his school a more sustainable institution.

Day 2 of the conference was just as packed and enriching. We were all sworn in as senators representing different states and political parties at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Some students—including me—were randomly assigned a political party and set of values which did not represent their real views. By putting us in the shoes of someone with different beliefs, this exercise helped build empathy and understanding. Together, we passed a responsible law about food and farming and saw how difficult but rewarding it can be to work together as Democrats and Republicans from across the United States.

After years of watching TED talks online and being inspired by them, the conference also gave me an opportunity to be an enchanted audience member in a TEDx event. I sat next to fellow peers and listened to talented speakers share their insights about self-growth, political empathy, and ideas on privilege and race. The President of Campus Compact, Dr. Andrew Seligsohn, spoke eloquently and personally about the importance of being politically empathetic and the role of civic engagement at this historical point in time.

For me, this conference was an invaluable experience. I made connections (emotional, intellectual, professional) with students from across the country who share similar goals. I felt honored to be grouped with such smart scholars and community activists. On top of schoolwork, the students in attendance make time to encourage positive change in the world. Their stories affirmed for me that one doesn’t need to wait and earn a special university degree in order to show how deeply one cares about their community. The passion and care for the aforementioned issues was palpable in each session throughout the program.

Even though spending two days on little sleep with people who challenged me to think critically and act compassionately was exhausting, I returned home recharged. I will use the connections and lessons I gained from the conference to promote social justice by working on issues around oral health, and women and children’s health. The conference instilled in me what it means to take responsible and equitable action in a community. While we all took separate paths out of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, the connections I made there have put me in a better place to be civically engaged in an educated and evolving way. For this, I am genuinely grateful.

Mourn. Celebrate. Connect.

By ksaleet on October 26, 2017

Every single minute, up to twenty individuals in the United States may be abused by an intimate partner. That amounts to a staggering ten million victims of domestic violence each year. And many of these innocent people may not survive their abuse. Here, in the state of New York, domestic violence is legally defined as “a pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim.” The reality of domestic violence or abuse is one endured by people in all walks of life, in various forms and capacities. Each story matters, and each deserves acknowledgment and remembrance. And each victim deserves help.

Since 1987, October has been officially recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time during which we should mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived, and connect with those who work to end it. Since its establishment, this movement has steadily gained momentum, helping to educate, heal, and catalyze deeply important discussion. Here at Colgate, The Network, a COVE team dedicated to supporting survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault, has sponsored two events to highlight the issues of domestic violence during this crucial month. The student group also put up a powerful statistical display on the quad to promote awareness.

On October 16, The Network invited Jennifer K. Enriquez, a public health educator and survivor, to campus. She shared her own unique story of interpersonal violence as both a child and an adult, and she began a conversation regarding abuse of all kinds, from sexual to physical to psychological to economic. Ms. Henriquez encouraged students and faculty to think critically about domestic violence, its roots, its victims, and its horrifying repercussions. And this meaningful, albeit difficult, dialogue should not be forgotten any time soon.

In light of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, perhaps the most important role that members of the Colgate community can play is that of the advocate. The advocate for safe and healthy relationships. The advocate for victim support in every form. The advocate for rightful prosecution and punishment of abusers. The advocate for learning and for listening and for dialogue. No single individual or team has the means or the power to put an end to the atrocious phenomenon that is domestic violence. But we all have the capacity to mourn, celebrate, connect, and advocate.

By Rebecca O’Neill

New Partnership Supports Long-Term Service Learning Initiative in Ecuador

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017
Ecuador service-learning trip volunteers working on community tourist site to welcome visitors to a local sacred site.

Ecuador service-learning trip volunteers working on community tourist site to welcome visitors to a local sacred site.

The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) and the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs developed a partnership over the last year to develop a long-term relationship with the Tandana Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Ecuador, to develop a series of rich, service-learning experiences for our students. A long-term service-learning program in Ecuador aligns well with the mission of the Lampert Institute and allows Colgate University to expand its offerings in Latin America, a locale currently underserved in our international programs. We plan to send two groups of 10 students and two faculty each year. We envision that the focus of the group will change from year to year, depending on the needs of the local communities and the academic interests of the group leaders. Read more

Max Shacknai COVE and Upstate Institute Increase the Impact of Joint Work-Study Program

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017
SOMAC Ambulance Corps volunteer demonstrating intervention on a fellow student.

SOMAC Ambulance Corps volunteer demonstrating intervention on a fellow student.

In the fall of 2015, the Max Shacknai COVE and the Upstate Institute joined together with local community agencies to offer paid internships to federal work-study–eligible students leading to lasting community outcomes and offering students who may not have the option to volunteer time at a nonprofit organization the opportunity to gain professional and leadership skills. This year we increased the number of internships to seven, more than doubling the program. Seven students worked with six community organizations: Partnership for Community Development (PCD), Town of Hamilton, Fiver Children’s Foundation, Southern Madison Ambulance Corps, Village of Hamilton, and Waterville First. This program allowed students interested in gaining a deeper experience in nonprofit administration hands-on, long-term, in-depth work. Projects provided capacity building assistance to the organizations with which we partnered. One student helped to write a policy and procedural manual for SOMAC, while another enhanced the organization’s social media presence. Students working with the other organizations provided data analysis and technology assistance to increase communication and evidence-based decision making for their organizations. We saw several win-win outcomes to this program in the first year and aim to continue to grow the program in future years to offer more internships. Read more

Student-Community Partnerships Experience Success

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017

The Max A. Shacknai COVE advises 39 student-led, community-based volunteer teams. These teams cover a wide range of issues and help students build an abundance of skills. Approximately 650 students — representing about 23 percent of the Colgate population — participate regularly on a volunteer team. This year, volunteer teams performed a total of more than 23,000 hours of service in the local community.

Service outcomes of ongoing projects include:

  • Tutored more than 250 local school children at all grade levels
  • Mentored more than 195 school-aged children
  • Provided after-school enrichment activities to an additional 75 local children
  • Improved academic and social confidence of children they tutored and mentored
  • Improved SAT scores of 60 local high school students by 100 points on average
  • Assisted more than 150 elderly and low-income adults
  • Served more than 800 individuals at the soup kitchen and food cupboard
  • Assisted in responding to more than 800 fire and EMS emergency calls
  • Contributed more than 500 hours responding to the Victims of Violence hotline
  • Provided care to more than 800 shelter animals
  • Contributed to a cohesive, caring community

Read more

Alternative Break Trips Deepen Student Learning

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017
Habitat for Humanity alternative break volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity alternative break volunteers.

The Max A. Shacknai COVE continues to offer opportunities to deepen student understanding of complex social issues by providing immersive experiences in environments very different from those available in the local community. Students participate in a series of preparation and reflective activities to create a rich learning opportunity. Alternative break trips are not discrete one-week experiences. In addition to committing to a work-intensive week, students are responsible for attending predeparture meetings that introduce the participants to the community and organization with which they will be working and the critical issues with which they will be dealing.

Students who participate are civically engaged and interested in effecting sustainable local and global change through a continued commitment. In total, 55 participants in these programs contributed more than 2,500 hours of direct service to these communities this year. Read more

Providing Support for Continued Community-Based Learning

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017

Increasing the Impact of One Student’s Study Group Work
This spring we were able to support a student who was asked by the community where she participated in a Colgate study group to return to expand on the work she did in the fall of 2015.

That fall, as part of her community-based learning work during the Santa Fe Study Group, Alia Davis ’18 spent each Tuesday and Thursday at the Keres Children’s Learning Center. KCLC is a Montessori school that focuses learning in Keres, Cochiti Pueblo’s original language, and blends Cochiti’s traditional systems of education with the Montessori model. As part of the work for KCLC, Davis completed a short video that enabled the founders and teachers of the KCLC to express their intentions, goals, and love for the school in their native language and highlighted just some of the beautiful moments the KCLC fosters for their use and to promote to the community. KCLC invited Davis to complete a second film for them with interviews that focus on the parents, community elders, KCLC’s teachers, and Dr. Joseph Suina, one of the founding members, and former governor of the pueblo. Davis returned in May to begin work on the second video, which she will finish up in the fall of 2017. Read more

Max Shacknai COVE Continues to Contribute through Signature Programs

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017

First-Year Orientation Outreach Program
The COVE sponsors a four-day pre-orientation service opportunity for first-year students called Outreach. Outreachers work in small groups on a variety of community projects designed to assist local organizations and agencies with their significant efforts.

This year, 10 upperclassmen led 21 first-year students in service experiences throughout the Hamilton and Utica communities. After each day of service, students reflected and discussed what their service experience might mean for their impending four years at Colgate. Overall, the program contributed more than 400 hours of service work in the short three-day span.

COVE Brown Bags
COVE Brown Bags are open to all students, staff, and faculty, and are a means by which COVE teams seek to increase knowledge and activism on issues related to their service work in the community. These luncheons, which take place weekly in the COVE lounge, highlight a wide array of topic areas. This year, we hosted 15 events. Read more

Common Good Network Enriches Career Options

By Contributing Writer on October 12, 2017

Joining with alumni affairs, career services and advancement, the Common Good Professional Network continues to grow and offer many networking and development opportunities for students and alumni. Two key initiatives saw great success again this year.

Be the Change Weekend
We welcomed eight alumni back to campus for our second annual Be the Change: Careers for the Common Good Symposium. The symposium focuses on building alumni-student relationships and advancing careers in the common good sector, which includes nonprofits, education, government, and other enterprises for social good. Read more