Saint Mary’s volleyball team and BAVO to host advocacy activities
Rebecca Stella | Wednesday, October 2, 2019
To honor Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) — led by coordinator Liz Coulston — is hosting seven events throughout October.
“Our goal is to end violence on the campus of Saint Mary’s in addition to in our community,” Coulston said. “We help students who have been sexually assaulted, a part of relationship violence or stalking in any way they need, whether recent or not.”
BAVO is pairing up with the athletic department for their first event “Volley Against Violence” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Belles Athletics has always been a big supporter of our cause and is always willing to partner with us on events,” Coulston said. “It’s also a great way to reach a different community than what some of our other events tend to reach.”
During the volleyball game, there will be a number of activities in which attendees can participate. Both the Saint Mary’s Belles and their opponents, the Adrian Bulldogs, will be wearing purple ribbons in their hair to support the cause. Both teams are asking attendees to join them in wearing purple for the cause.
“BAVO will have a table set up on the main floor of Angela to give out information regarding domestic violence along with a raffle for a couple of different prizes,” Coulston said. “We are also collecting non-perishable food items for the Family Justice Center. This food drive will be going on for the entire month of October with a bin to collect food at all of our events.”
Throughout the next months, BAVO will also be partnering with the athletic department for a domestic violence awareness soccer game as well as a screening of the movie “At the Heart of Gold” about the USA gymnastics team. Sports information director Sarah Miesle works alongside Coulston to make these events possible.
“The athletic department has been working with BAVO ever since it started around eight to nine years ago,” Miesle said. “Student athletes are a good resource on campus to spread this message. It is one thing for us to talk until we are blue in the face saying this is important but until it registers with students why it is important, we can only go so far.”
Junior Meghan McNamara on the Student Advisory Committee for BAVO, along with a co-chair of Green Dot, a bystander intervention organization, said she finds this office to be an extremely important resource for Saint Mary’s students. She said she encourages other students to get involved by applying for one of BAVO’s four committees or even just attending events on campus.
“Being a part of BAVO makes me feel like I am making a difference,” McNamara said. “I want girls to know that they are not alone, and they have people that will stand behind them and listen. This program has allowed me to see that it’s not always about who is helping, but it is also about how we are helping.”