Friday, April 09, 2010

White Ribbon Campaign at the University of Saskatchewan

by Ben Fawcett, Vice President Student Affairs, University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union

From March 8 – 12, 2010, the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union held a White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women and girls specifically, as well as relationship and domestic violence in general. The campaign was planned and coordinated by the USSU’s President and VP Student Affairs with the help of the USSU’s Student Affairs Board and Women’s Centre coordinator.

The campaign was extremely successful and garnered attention not only across campus, but also in the local media such as the Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper. In total, almost 2,500 white ribbons were handed out throughout the week. Below is an outline of our campaign and the different strategies we used in order to spread awareness:

- An original, university-wide poster campaign in which several College Deans, Associate Deans, Professors, Department Heads, Administrators, students and staff participated. Each poster featured a specific person’s face and a quote with a pledge to end violence. This included the University’s Provost, its Vice President of Finance, and the President himself, Peter McKinnon.

- An informational campaign in which statistics on violence were gathered and presented in the form of hand bills and large posters from the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre, YWCA Saskatoon, and Statistics Canada.

- A direct student engagement campaign in which tables were set up in five locations across campus. Student volunteers from different student societies handed out white ribbons and provided information on the campaign. Some U of S Huskie athletes also participated in this, including two members from the men’s football team and one member from the CIS national champion men’s basketball team.

- A metaphorical pledge to end violence against women and girls as students were encouraged to stamp their handprint onto a giant banner that read “These Hands Will Never Be Used In Violence”.

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