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BAVO hosts kickoff picnic

Jillian Barwick | Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) welcomed Saint Mary’s students back to campus with a picnic at their kickoff event Tuesday night.

Instituted in April by the College, BAVO addresses the issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking, Connie Adams, assistant director of BAVO, said.

“Our three primary goals in BAVO are to provide support and advocacy services to students who experience violence or abuse or know someone who has experienced violence or abuse,” Adams said. “Second, we want to provide educational and prevention programming on campus. The kickoff event is one example of this goal. The third is to offer training opportunities to students, faculty and staff to better respond to and prevent violence and abuse as it impacts our community.”

Sophomore Linsey McMullen, a member of the Student Advisory Committee, was stationed behind the resource table, which held a multitude of information about BAVO and the organizations it partners with in the community.

“We are really trying to raise awareness and promote education about the issues women face everyday when it comes to violence,” she said.

Spread across the resource table were BAVO bracelets, BAVO pins and pamphlets from local resources on sexual assault and violence that were given away to students who attended the event.

“There are many different things going on at our kickoff event,” McMullen said. “We have our Clothesline Project set up so that people can decorate different colored shirts by writing a message to stand against violence. Each color represents the different forms of violence that affects women.”

Meghan Casey, Student Government Association (SGA) Vice-President, also participated in BAVO’s kickoff event with a craft table.

“What SGA is doing is a project for Support a Belle, Love a Belle in which we have girls sign a petition stating that they pledge to be an advocate for all Belles,” she said.

Casey said the signature of each student shows others that there are resources at Saint Mary’s for everyone to access.

“No one should ever feel alone here,” she said. “Our craft table is where girls can write out anonymous letters which will be handed out at Support a Belle, Love a Belle Week. The notes are love letters to encourage a more positive outlook to the students that read them.”

Also co-sponsored by SODEXO Food Services, the kickoff event provided students a change of scenery from the dining hall with a picnic on the library green.

“Both SGA and SODEXO strongly believe in the mission of BAVO. Our kickoff event is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate,” Adams said. “These partnerships allow BAVO to interact with a wider range of students and further demonstrate that violence is not one of our community values.”

Adams and BAVO, along with SGA and SODEXO, wanted to hold a meaningful event with a fun atmosphere for the students.

“These activities combined allow students to become engaged with BAVO in a new way,” she said. “The goal of these events is to have students interact with our cause in new and exciting ways, and a picnic outside with a photo booth, craft tables and shirt painting are great opportunities for BAVO to connect with the community.”