Fogged by a euphoria of back to school shopping, dorm decorating and a new social life, incoming university students overlook the potential dangers that occur once they first step foot on campus — mainly: sexual violence. Fortunately, our passionate student government here at Penn State has made it a new yearly mission to bring awareness and provide tips to combat the epidemic.
The UPUA (University Park Undergraduate Association) began an initiative two years ago called “Red Zone Action Week.” This year, the initiative was led by Jacob Klipstein, chair of student life committee, and At-Large Representative Daniel Muldowney. The Red Zone is a nationally used term to describe the first six weeks of a freshman’s collegiate career where the likelihood of sexual violence and vulnerability is heightened. The Red Zone is a critical time to advocate for awareness and activism to ensure freshman feel safe on campus. This year, it took place between September 9-13th.
Weeklong tabling occurred at both Findlay and Pollock commons to especially target and raise awareness for the incoming class. Freshmen are especially at risk due to their lack of knowledge regarding the campus and its resources. UPUA handed out resource cards, detailing where students can get help if needed. They also provided knowledge on the “Three D’s” of sexual assault prevention — distract, delegate, direct. Tabling for this event also occurred in the HUB to make all students aware of The Red Zone.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five college-aged women and one in 16 college-aged men will experience sexual assault on campus. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, more than 50% of college sexual violence occurs in the months of August, September, October and November. With this, 90% of victims do not report their assault to anyone. During NSO, incoming students are encouraged to have conversations regarding consent, the dangers of excessive alcohol misuse and are provided the phone numbers to SAFEWALK and the University Police. Incoming students also are strongly encouraged to fill out the SAFE and AWARE modules before arriving on campus.
VALLEY had the opportunity to speak to both Jacob Klipstein and Daniel Muldowney. Both agreed that the initiative went successful and they look forward to building upon the event in the future. The Gender Equity Center will also be implementing a Sexual Violence and Prevention week in the spring. VALLEY also encourages its readers to be more informed on the initiatives the UPUA places to better student life.
Penn State welcomes over 8,500 freshmen yearly. Red Zone Awareness week is a powerful initiative implemented by the UPUA to advocate for, educate and protect our new Penn State members.