Fall 2012 was an exciting and innovative beginning to the school year. The Men’s Activism Program got their semester off to an early start with a screening of Byron Hurt’s documentary about music and masculinity, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes in collaboration with the National Society of Black Engineers and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity. The screening was well-attended, and fostered a discussion about college culture, music, and sexism after the movie ended. This event would set the tone for a semester filled with collaborations with other student groups on campus.
Next, they welcomed fifteen new volunteers through their implementation of a Red Shirt Program, which allows people interested in the Men’s Activism Program to join SAPAC on a trial basis before attending volunteer training in the winter. This was a successful initiative that revitalized the MAs and brought in many enthusiastic volunteers and their ideas and passion. More experienced volunteers helped the Red Shirts learn about engaging men in sexual assault prevention, and together, they created several successful events and campaigns. The Men’s Activism Program looks forward to continuing to welcome Red Shirt volunteers in the future.
The MAs entered into collaboration with Lambda Theta Phi again, as well as their sister sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma to have a conversation between the three groups about machismo. Called “What is Machismo to You?” this event was facilitated by members of all three organizations. They used a four-corners activity to explore ideas and perceptions about men’s and women’s roles, and then broke off into small groups to further discuss themes that emerged. This event was especially eye-opening as to the causes of ideas about masculinity and femininity, and the positive and negative aspects of those ideas.
As November drew closer, the Men’s Activism Program prepared for their biggest first-semester campaign: their second annual No-Shave November for Consent. Men on campus are encouraged to sign a pledge that they will not shave their face for the month of November, and to use their facial hair to start conversations about the necessity of consent to sexual activity with other men. This year’s campaign involved participants in a variety of ways, with over 200 men signing the Beard Pledge, 70 picking up “Ask Me About My Beard” t-shirts, and six submitting videos to the Beard Off at the end of the month. Participants also attended events throughout the month, like the Networking, Publicity and Activism Program’s Speak Out, a Pizza House fundraiser, Beard Jeopardy, and an official t-shirt pick-up day. The Beard-Off was a successful event, with food, prizes, and performances by the Men’s Glee Club, who generously grew beards for the occasion. The MAs are excited to see how this event will continue to grow in years to come.
Throughout the semester, MAs also gave workshops to groups around campus; fraternities Beta Theta Pi, and Omega Psi Phi, and the Muslim Students Association. Volunteers worked directly with members of these communities to make our workshops as applicable and interesting as possible to the audience, and in the cases of Beta Theta Pi and MSA, had a member of those communities facilitate the workshop with an MA. These workshops strengthened their ties to these organizations and allowed them to engage in dialogs about what sexual violence looks like in specific communities.
The Men’s Activism Program had an eye-opening semester of collaboration and was honored to be able to learn and teach together with many different groups and individuals. They hope to continue building these relationships and using those relationships to activate men.