Residence halls hope to increase assault awareness

Kevin McCahill

Residence hall community advisers have organized to keep students protected from sexual assault, starting in the superblock.

The event is called “April Assault Awareness Week” and will take place all week in superblock residence halls.

Genetics, cell biology and development senior and Frontier Hall community adviser Amanda Hemmingsen organized the event to help students protect themselves in case a situation arises.

The hall councils of Frontier, Territorial, Centennial and Pioneer halls and the Residential Hall Association are sponsoring the weeklong event.

“You always hear about students getting assaulted or mugged on campus,” Hemmingsen said. “It’s really beneficial to learn about that to avoid it.”

The program starts at 7 tonight in the Territorial Hall classroom with an event focusing on the myths and messages about sex and power for men and women.

Hemmingsen held a similar, smaller event last year in Frontier Hall.

“It’s phenomenal to be this dedicated to assault awareness,” said TR Corey, Frontier Hall assistant hall director. “She’s put a lot of work into it.”

Hemmingsen organized the event last year after taking a self-defense class at the University.

“I thought it’d be a good idea to have a program to educate first-year students on campus,” she said.

Because the event covers all avenues of assault, it is beneficial for all students, Corey said.

This year the awareness week has been expanded to include the entire superblock, as well as a resource fair.

Architecture senior and Frontier Hall community adviser Andrew Ripp helped organize the fair. He said it was easy to get groups to participate.

“The resources are great, it’s just a matter (of) if anyone knows about them,” he said.

The Aurora Center, Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Boynton Health Service and the University Police Department will have representatives at the fair, Hemmingsen said.

Ice cream sundaes also will be provided.

All students are invited to the events, which are free.

Personal safety consultant and University self-defense instructor Mary Brandl will be teaching a self-defense course at 7 p.m. Thursday in Frontier Hall.

“It’s knowing how to act,” Brandl said of her instruction. “Self-defense is 90 percent knowing what is going on around you.”

Housing and Residential Life provided some financial support, Hemmingsen said. Eleven other community advisers from around campus helped organize the event.

Assistant Director of Residential Life Susan Stubblefield said Housing and Residential Life always is willing to help students.

“When (community adviser’s) pull together programs, we certainly support them,” she said.

The department typically helps in providing publicity, Stubblefield said.

“It’s that grassroots approach that can really meet their needs,” she said.