Advanced service learning students introduce Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Sexual Assault Awarness Week is a new event on campus introduced by three students in the advanced service learning course. The week aims to educate students on sexual assualt as well as inform them of resources should they be assaulted. 

“Not everybody knows the different forms and actions that can count as sexual assault,” said Mary Carden, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from Wynne. “We wanted to have at least a week’s worth of events for people to come out (and learn).”

“I personally know people who have been sexually assaulted, but never actually went through with reporting it,” said Abbey Edrington, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from Paragould. “I feel like (this week) will get people to know there’s other people to help and support them.

The week began with a showing of the documentary “The Hunting Ground”. On Tuesday, they held a presentation over the different aspects and legalities of sexual assualt, including Title IX, the Clery Act and other resources. Wednesday saw a panel with the University Police Department, Office of Title IX and the Counseling Center, as well as an anonymous questionnaire. 

The week concluded on Thursday with the walk “Light up the Night”. Students walked around campus wearing glow sticks and holding posters. In addition, the clock tower was lit teal. 

According to the event’s description on the Arkansas State University calendar “This walk is glow in the dark themed so we can shine a light on what sexual assault is and how it is a issue we face where ever we may go. During our walk there will be different statistics along our path to show students that this is a real issue and it happens more than we think it does.” 

This week is a result of a major project in Courtney Bracy’s advanced service learning course. It is a semester-long project that also serves as the main grade for the course.

“I know our professor has been wanting to do it for the past couple years and just hasn’t found a good time to bring it up,” Edrington said. “I think they were kind of scared to do it, but she thought this year would be a good year to start it back up.”

Bracy declined to comment.

Even though this week is a result of a class project, Carden said she wanted the week to continue into future years. She added that she would like the event to evolve from a week-long event to potentially an entire month and could see the Office of Title IX taking over the project. 

“I’m very happy with what they were able to do and the number of people they were able to reach,” said Perdeta Bush, director of Title IX and institutional equity. “It’s a topic that a lot of people don’t want to touch because of the sensitivity of the topic. To see a class fully embrace it and really want to educate their peers, made me feel very proud that they would take on that challenge.”

If the event were to be held next year, the students said they would want to host more activities during daytime hours, table in the Reng Student Union and work with Greek life. 

In addition to promoting on-campus resources, the event also educated students on off-campus resources as well. 

“We’re trying to show what A-State can do for students, but also (provide) outside resources like the Jonesboro Police Department, different clinics around town and different counseling services. (We’re promoting them for victims) who don’t feel comfortable on campus or have had a bad experience,” said Alicia Howard, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from Jonesboro.

“It’s a hard topic but at least if we’re starting to talk about it, we’re starting to do stuff about it,” Howard added. “Maybe people might not feel so alone. They might realize stuff’s actually happening, they can get help and figure it all out.”

To report sexual assault, contact the Office of Title IX at or 870-972-2015. One can additionally contact UPD at 870-972-2093. 

Categories: News

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