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BAVO starts year with picnic

By Emilie Kefalas | Thursday, September 5, 2013



On Thursday, Saint Mary’s students took a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault by participating in a NO MORE Campaign picnic hosted by the Belles Against Violence Office, director Connie Adams said. 

“We wanted to do it at the beginning of the academic year to really kick off the year, reconnect and share what we’re about, encourage students to get involved and provide an opportunity for students to reconnect with the office,” Adams said. 

The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), established nearly four years ago, educates students about sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking, Adams said.

Part of the education process includes mandatory Green Dot training for all first-year students, Adams said. Green Dot training is part of a national campaign that encourages students not to ignore acts of violence. 

“I get really, really excited to see the excitement that is coming from [first-year students],” Adams said. “They are recognizing they have the power to really reduce violence and really have an impact in our community.”

Senior Elizabeth Burzynzki, a member of the BAVO Student Advisory Committee, said she recognized the importance of the cause when Adams spoke at her first-year orientation.

“[When I was a first-year,] I thought the mandatory meetings about sexual assault were interesting,” Burzynzki said. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, this is a real issue, this is a human issue, this is something I need to get behind.'” 

Adams said the Clothesline Project, a national initiative that bears witness to violence against women by decorating T-shirts, organized an important station at Thursday’s picnic. 

“Girls can go and decorate a T-shirt, and then we’ll keep the T-shirt,” Adams said. “Later on in the year, we display [them] in the Student Center and then we also display [them] in the library,” Adams said. 

Adams said she hopes the project’s light atmosphere will promote a positive, hopeful image of fighting sexual assault and violence. Hopefully, students will recognize this hope and get involved with BAVO this year, she said. 

“Generally speaking, in our society when we talk about these issues, the initial reaction is kind of a loss of a sense of hope,” Adams said. “But when we start talking about ways that we can do something and [take] feasible steps to prevent violence, there’s power in that. That’s really exciting and it builds that hope up. I really feel that’s the core of what we’re about.” 

Applications to join a BAVO programming committee are available at http://reslifesmc.wufoo.com/forms/bavo-programming-committee-application-z7z8q3/. They are due Sept. 9. 

Contact Emilie Kefalas at