The Networking, Publicity, and Activism (NPA) program had a very eventful and fulfilling year! We started the year with tons of tabling opportunities, which is a great way to help students learn about our survivor services and volunteer opportunities. This year we tabled at Festifall, Gayz Craze, School of Public Health fair, the Resident Staff Resource fair, Escapade, Northfest, and Winterfest, just to name a few! In October, we partnered with LSA Student Government’s Publicity Affairs Committee and Alpha Chi Omega to promote Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Later that month, we also held a candlelight vigil for survivors and victims of Intimate Partner Violence. During the month of November, we were busy planning our 28th Annual Speak Out, a public forum for survivors to share their stories. This year, we had nearly 300 people in attendance! This is one of the NPA’s most attended events, and we welcome all survivors of sexualized violence to share their stories in a safe and confidential space, regardless of their background or experiences. On December 2nd, SAPAC participated in Giving Blueday, where donations from students were doubled by an anonymous donor. We raised $2000 dollars for all of SAPAC!
During the winter semester, all new volunteers for SAPAC are required to complete our 30-hour training, and this year the NPAs welcomed 14 new volunteers! Following volunteer training, we began our three part series of Telling the Untold Truth (TUT), a dialogue series that aims to create a campus wide conversation surrounding narratives of sexualized violence with groups that are typically left out of the popular discourse. This program was created last year by our co-coordinator, Anna Forringer-Beal, and was organized this year by sophomore Meredith Gillies, junior Alexis Barkin, and senior Shelbie Rose. This year we collaborated with Freehearts, the Society of Women Engineers, and Students Organizing Against Prisons. This was our second year organizing TUT dialogues, and there will hopefully be many more to come!
The NPA program strives to support our volunteers desire to spearhead certain projects with a Point Person program. Ali Chetwynd, a PhD candidate in English, organized a SAPAC-wide discussion with Elizabeth Armstrong, sociology professor at Michigan and author of “Paying for the Party.” Kathryn Abercrombie, senior, and Sarah Hiltner, junior, along with groups on campus such as Culture Shift and I Will, were able to bring a free screening of The Hunting Ground to Michigan on April 9th. The Hunting Ground is a film about sexual assault on college campuses, and was produced by the makers of The Invisible War. After the screening there was a panel discussion chaired by Holly Rider-Milkovich, SAPAC Director, Detective Maggie Pillsbury, head of the new Special Victims Unit at Michigan, Paul Blavin, executive producer of the film, Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, lead subjects of the film and founders of End Rape on Campus, and Anna Forringer-Beal, NPA Co-coordinator. Laura Meyer, junior, helped start an initiative to add information on the sexual misconduct policy to syllabi for all U of M classes.
Finally, the NPAs hosted our 10th annual art show, rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change, on Friday, March 27th in the School of Social Work. The themes of the show are gender, sexism, sexualized violence, and empowerment. We have spent the entire semester planning this event, and are excited to announce that we held a silent auction during the exhibit opening, with the proceeds going to our Peer Led Support Group (PLSG) and our survivor care fund. We raised nearly $500 this year! This year our guest speaker was Emily Simmonds, the creator of rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change. She discussed her vision of rEVOLUTION and her experiences with sexualized violence.