The Paw Print
Adams State College graduate student, Jennifer Carter, found herself very concerned when she heard news stories about recent suicides around the country involving young people who were bullied for being, or because someone else believed they were, gay. She decided to take action to prevent similar bullying situations on the Adams State campus with Respect Week.
While many of the week’s activities were geared toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community, organizers hoped to express their stance against bullying of any kind. They believe that everyone deserves a safe place to learn.
To encourage a safe environment on campus, Respect Week also featured Safe Zone training, a program that offers training and open discussions on how to be an ally for people in the GLBT community. It promotes the idea that everyone deserves a safe place with open, understanding, and genuine people who know about the issues facing people in the GLBT community.
Preparations for the event began just two weeks before Respect Week when Carter started talking to fellow graduate student, Deb Perkins about her ideas for the events. Around the same time, Perkins had been talking to resident director Alex Maffucci about Safe Zone training. Everything fit together from there. In two short weeks, they arranged a full week of events focused on shining a light on issues facing the GLBT community on campus.
On Monday the first Safe Zone training was held in the Conour Main Lobby to teach participants how to be a better ally for the GLBT community. Tuesday they held an open forum about the issues facing the GLBT community on campus and promoting respect. A movie and pizza night was held on Wednesday. Thursday they welcomed well-known comedian Ant to share his story and some laughs for free in the Carson Auditorium. Finally, on Friday people were asked to sign a vow sheet that is meant to remind everyone of the Safe Zone training and lessons in respect that were shared through the week.
Organizers appreciated all of the support and participation they received during the week saying that many students, staff, and faculty actively participated in the events. Carter, Perkins and Maffucci planned Respect Week and credit the many organizations, departments, and students across the campus for making the week a success. Dr. Mumper’s office, GAB, and Student Housing funded the week and Ashlie Cogburn and GAB helped to organize Thursday’s event. Aaron Miltenberger helped by volunteering some of the Student Life work studies’ time to make the buttons that were handed out throughout the week.
Carter hopes that people have been reminded during the week that “everyone deserves to be safe, both emotionally and physically on campus.” She says that respect should not just be remembered during Respect Week, but every single day.
Because of the massive positive response that was received during the week, the organizers are now working hard to start a group focused on offering a consistent support group and more Safe Zone training for the GLBT community at Adams State College.