By Savannah Lewis
Cleveland State University’s active fraternities and sororities came together to spread awareness to end violence against women by hosting White Ribbon Day on campus. Along with promoting awareness of the day, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) used their event to collect donations for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. The event was held on Nov. 22, to correlate with the rest of Northeast Ohio’s viewing of this day.
“The premise of this day was started in the UK and was created to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other acts.” Chrissy Rodriguez, the president of NPC and a member of Theta Phi Alpha, explained. “While White Ribbon day mostly consists of men working to end violence against women, we chose to do it as an IFC and NPC community.”
Rodriguez also stated that while the event was happening on campus, there was a public rally occurring at the Cuyahoga County Domestic Courthouse in honor of the day.
For the event, all of the active chapters of the IFC and NPC set up four tables, each offering different activities for students to participate in through donations or educational tools to spread information about the issue of violence against women. They promoted different services on campus, such as Cleveland State’s counseling services and the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).
“My hope is that events like White Ribbon Day will help the campus to be more aware of the resources that they have available to them,” Jordan Hayes, president of the Order of Omega, explained.
Hayes was the one who initially came up with the plan to hold this event. She and Rodriguez worked together to make sure the active Greek community was involved in the process of the event.
The only chapter that was not present was Sigma Tau Gamma, due to their current interim suspension. Martin Barnard, the president of IFC and chaplin of Sigma Phi Epsilon explained that while they were not apart of the event, one of Sig Tau’s members personally donated $100 to the cause.
“White Ribbon day allowed us to come together for a cause to create awareness for crimes against women,” Rodriguez said.
Barnard also expressed that he was inspired by how all of the Greek community on Cleveland State’s campus came together for a cause that he believes in.
Rodriguez explained that when choosing who to donate to for this event, it was barely a question that they would choose the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
“We were all excited to be a part of helping them achieve their goals and continue their operations,” Rodriguez said. “They offer so many tools such as counseling, advocacy and education programs that it would be silly not to support such efforts.”
Rodriguez explained why she believes supporting events like this and the services who provide support for people who have faced these circumstances is important.
“We talk so much as a society about what to do after a rape has occured and about the legal system that surrounds the case, but White Ribbon Day and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center focus on what happens to survivors after the crime occurs and ways we can prevent it in the future,” she stated.
The IFC and NPC were able to collect over $300 to donate to the Cleveland Rape Crisis during the two hour tabling event. They collected donations through various means such as a bake sale and donations from the community to play a game in order to win a prize.
Hayes explained that she felt the most important part of this event was spreading awareness to Cleveland State’s campus.
“I think people on campus and the community should be aware of who they can talk to and who is here if they ever find themselves needing it,” Hayes commented.
“To everyone who came and supported our tables, rocked a white ribbon, bought from the bake sale, donated to the cause, poked a cup, took education materials or even stopped and talked to us, we appreciate you and we thank you for supporting such a good cause,” Rodriguez stated.