Fall 2014Over the fall semester, we focused most of our efforts on planning and executing our annual month long No Shave November for Consent campaign. This year, the campaign started with a kick-off water pong tournament in the Diag where participants could sign the pledge, collect No Shave goodies including a No Shave t-shirt, and play some water pong. We also created our first-ever promotional video that sought to include everyone in the campaign, not just men who could grow beards. Our video ended up reaching 8,044 people on Facebook and received 1,180 views on YouTube. During November, we also hosted a No Shave themed open microphone at a fraternity on campus, where people performed various consent-themed acoustic songs or spoken word poetry. Our campaign concluded with our annual flag football tournament, where various fraternities signed up to play in a double-elimination tournament oriented around sexual violence awareness, myth busting, and bystander intervention. Overall we had 108 participants who signed the No Shave pledge to practice consensual sex, our highest number ever!
After receiving 34 new volunteers, we divided our group into several smaller committees with different goals. These committees included Diversity and Outreach, Athletics Outreach, Workshop Revamp, No Shave November planning, and YesMeansFest planning. The Diversity and Outreach committee worked on networking with other groups on campus including LGBTQ and/or students of color that are often left out of the common narrative surrounding sexual assault such as Sikh Student Association, United Asian American Organization, Sigma Sigma Rho sorority, TransForm, and the Central Student Government’s LGBTQ commission. The committee facilitated workshops and dialogues with each of these different communities addressing ways in which sexual violence manifests itself in that community, potential barriers present within that community, and the intersection of social and personal identities with sexual violence.
The Athletics Committee worked with networking with President Mark Schlissel as well as other athletic administrators on campus to advocate for bystander intervention workshops for athletes. Although we did not get to facilitate a workshop for any athletes this year, administrators were receptive and we have started the process of communicating with the athletic community.
The Workshop Revamp Committee looked at past workshops that we have presented and worked on how these workshops could be more effective and engaging to different communities on campus, including Greek Life. The committee hosted our second annual “Frat Chat”, an event catered towards men in Greek Life for them to provide feedback on our workshops, as well as network with us for workshops in the future. We received amazing feedback for the second year in a row and are still working to make our workshops the best they can be.
The No Shave November Committee got a head start on planning for our next campaign this November by taking inventory of our previously ordered merchandise, planning orders for next year, and beginning to plan for our major events of the month, such as our flag football tournament. Our hope with planning for No Shave a semester beforehand is that the planning in the fall will go much more smoothly if major tasks are accomplished beforehand, such as ordering merchandise and booking venues for our future events.
Our final committee was in charge of organizing our second annual YesMeansFest SafeHouse benefit concert. The concert took place this year on April 12th from 4-10pm at Trotter Multicultural Center. The event hosted a diverse lineup that varied from performance art and spoken word poetry to hip-hop to electronic music. There was also an open microphone for the first two hours of the show that featured a diverse set of voices from across our campus. In addition to music, we provided food, DIY crafts, and writing projects for event attendees. We also held a Pizza House fundraiser that raised an additional $43 for SafeHouse. The total amount of money that we raised from the YesMeansFest concert was around $470.All of this could not have been made possible without the tireless work of all of the MA volunteers! Huge thanks to everyone for their tireless work on No Shave November and their respective committees, we hope that next semester is even more successful than this one!