Walking for awareness

Phi Sigma Pi hosts first annual ‘Walk the Walk’

Anna Jaskiewicz, Op/Ed Editor

This past Sunday, BU’s local chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity hosted its first annual Walk the Walk event. 

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of sexual assault on college campuses. The event ran from 1 pm to 4 pm in the rec center and had multiple activities to keep participants busy. 

One table provided a unique way for participants to keep track of how many laps they completed. After each completed lap, walkers could write a characteristic or quality about themselves that they like and place it on their backs as they continue to walk. Once a walker reaches six laps, they were automatically entered into a raffle to win a gift basket of goodies. 

Kassie Luna, Phi Sigma Pi Iota Chapter’s President commented, “The lap counting activity really gets us thinking about our positive qualities!”.

Additionally, there was a table where participants were encouraged to decorate index cards with positive sayings and quotes. The index cards were hung up on the side of the wall for motivation. 

Another activity at Walk the Walk encouraged participants to paint the undersides of their hands and place their handprints along a white banner that will be hung up on campus. The color teal was appropriately chosen because it is the official color for sexual assault awareness. 

Walk the Walk also provided   a self-defense class. The was being managed by black belts and other members of Michael’s School of Tang Soo Do. 

Diana Masteller, a well-practiced student at Michael’s School of Tang Soo Do provided an important reason to practice martial arts as a means of defending oneself, “It will give you something to use against sexual predators that they aren’t expecting. They won’t expect you to know how to get out of grabs or that you know how to punch correctly.”

She added that she does not consider herself athletic at all but, after practicing self-defense within her Tang Soo Do classes, she feels safer walking alone on campus at night. 

There were multiple informational booths at Walk the Walk that were manned by employees of the Women’s Resource Center. 

These booths provided various pamphlets of information regarding the definition of sexual violence, where victims can seek help, and how a student should report sexual misconduct using Bloomsburg University’s suggested procedures.

The Phi Sigma Pi brother responsible for the creation of this event was the Philanthropy chair, Meredith Heagerty. I think that sexual assault has become a prominent thing on college campuses and that we want to raise awareness about it but there really hasn’t been an outlet to do that,” Heagerty says. 

Meredith was determined to spread awareness and provide knowledge about the nature of sexual assault and how to defend yourself against it. 

Meredith hopes that attendees were able to have some fun while raising awareness about this issue. 

She believes that raising awareness about sexual assault and misconduct doesn’t have to be a sad or depressing experience.

She added, “People need to know that its cool to raise awareness. It’s okay to talk about it and be aware of it.” Recognizing an issue is the first step to fighting it.