Tag Archives: awareness

Uprisings in Egypt an Opportunity to Exercise Global Awareness

In the last couple of weeks, students were unlikely to run into any kind of media, electronic, print, or otherwise, without picking up at least the smallest morsel of a detail about the popular uprisings in the north African nations of Tunisia and Egypt.

With the distractions, duties, and commitments that follow from being an American college student, it is too easy to dismiss these faraway, international news items as just that: narratives so far removed from our lives that we can tune in and tune out at will.

The editorial does not seek to feed you, the discerning reader, a stance on the nature of these events or a detailed geopolitical analysis you can lap up and then feed to other people when there is nothing else to talk about. No, the purpose is to make you aware of the unique and valuable opportunity you, the USF undergraduate, have as these history-making movements unfold in one of the most important and volatile regions on the planet.

The Foghorn recognizes that the current situation in the Middle East, with its possible long-lasing, far-reaching political, economic, social, and cultural effects, is historic; national leaders who have accumulated and solidified their power through force and fiat and who have enjoyed virtually unchecked authority for decades are being called to answer for their leadership, or lack thereof.

We recognize that people will disagree on what these events mean, whether they represent the best interests of the United Sates, of China, of Argentina, etc. etc., whether this will finally precipitate peace and stability in the region or an intensification of conflict, whether these events are a victory or a setback to human rights, whether the international community should respond in this way or that way or even at all.

Inevitably, people will form their own opinions (and then clash, nonviolently, we hope) on this matter. What we advocate as journalists, whose essential task is to foster a long-running conversation for the truth, is for you, the student, to invest yourself in this noteworthy event in history.

Ask yourself, how do these events alter the world I will enter into after graduation? How can I shape that world into a vision for jsutice and positive change?

While obviously not all can effect change by visiting the sites of these demonstrations, one can form an opinion. One can know what is going on in the world. Be creative and seek solutions to these and other problems. Apply what you learn in school to the issues you feel compelled to take on . As citizens who are being prepared to engage, in our own inimitable, individual fashions, the world around us, the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings should capture our attention as global citizens and invite us to constructively use our power as educated individuals for good.

So instead of tuning out to a distant news piece, use your USF education as best you can to make sense of this and frankly any issue that will transofrm the world you will one day engage in. Then do something about it. What is happening now in Cairo and Tunis is a perfect way to exercise your cultivated sense of global stewardship and social responsibility, however that sense may manifest itself.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Opinion Editor: Vicente Patino

Upcoming Week of Events Highlight Sexual Assault Awareness

The Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence group on campus will be presenting Sexual Assault Awareness Week from April 19-24.  According to Samantha Sheppard-Gonzales co-director of STAASV, “The ‘It Affects Me’ campaign exists to promote campus policies that support prevention, recovery and justice, rather than silencing or victim-blaming. ‘It Affects Me’ encourages USF students to be active friends, not bystanders, and to think critically about the definition of ‘consent.’ Sexual violence is a community issue – not a women’s issue or a strictly heterosexual issue.”

From Monday to Wednesday there will be a clothesline project where any student can decorate a t-shirt about sexual violence and empowerment in any way they choose.  There will be tables in front of the cafeteria and Parina lounge on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The shirts will be displayed in every hall, the cafeteria, and the library.

On Sunday and Monday, April 18 and 19, educational workshops will take place in the residence halls.  On Sunday they will be in Pedro Arrupe and Phelan Hall, and on Monday the workshops will be conducted in Gillson (for Hayes-Healy residents as well) and on Lone Mountain, for Loyola Village residents as well.  The workshops will take place from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. both days.

Tuesday is dedicated to Create Against Rape, a night of empowerment for the USF student body through arts and personal expression.  It will take place in UC 222 from 7 p. m. to 9 p.m.  Poetic Engagement will host a writing workshop as well as perform original pieces of spoken word to encourage discussion, and anyone who comes will be able to convey their thoughts through multiple mediums, including collaging, zine-making, painting, knitting, writing and performance, button-making, and decorating t-shirts for the Clothesline Project.  Food will be served.

Tuesday and Thursday will each feature a bake sale in Harney Plaza during dead hour, 12:15pm to 1:15pm.  There will be tasty treats available and the proceeds will go to the San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) Walk Against Rape.

On Wednesday there will be A Dialogue for Men, in a to-be-determined location from 7pm to 9pm.  This will be a space facilitated by students where men can speak frankly about their experiences as men at USF.  Topics of discussion include sex, violence, and masculinity.

Thursday is Take Back the Night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., a march and rally by candlelight, which was inspired by an 1877 rally in London where “women protested the fear and violence they experienced in the nighttime streets” (www.takebackthenight.org). The USF community will join together to support survivors of sexual violence and declare that violence of any kind is not tolerated here.  In addition to the march through campus, there will be an open mic for survivors of sexual violence, supporters of survivors, and advocated against violence to share thoughts and stories.  Food will be available for a small donation to the Walk Against Rape, and t-shirts and supplies will be available to contribute to the Clothesline Project.

The final event during Awareness Week is the Walk Against Rape, which will take place on Saturday.  Anyone from USF who wishes to participate should meet outside Gleeson Library at 9 a.m., and we will leave by 9:30 a.m.  The walk is just over three miles and begins at Justin Herman Plaza at 10 a.m. and will conclude with a rally in Dolores Park at noon.

The rally will include speakers, performances, vendors, fundraising prizes, information and resources from several community organizations, the Clothesline Project on display, as well as food and drink.  All proceeds from the day go toward San Francisco Women Against Rape.

Resources for anyone who is dealing with or has dealt with rape or sexual assault are always available at the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Student Resource Center (GSWSRC) located in front of the Market Cafe in UC 200.


Indifference, Ignorance Hinder Recyclemania Success

A USF student contributes–if inadvertently–to the University of San Francisco’s effort to recycle more than other colleges participating in the Recyclemania competion. Photo Illustration by Cass Krughoff/Foghorn

It’s that time of year again. Until the March 27 deadline, USF will rake thousands of pounds in recyclables, particularly food service organics, before the conclusion of the national Recyclemania competition. Despite the number of students involved, both voluntarily and by default, attitude about the competition is inconsistent around campus. Though USF amassed over 140,000 lbs in recyclables last year, according to the Recyclemania website, many students believe that recycling is merely a baby step up a massive staircase.

For people like Andrea Parnell, an environmental studies student living in the Loyola Village dorms, the recently concluded E=MC2 competition gave students more impetus to live greener lifestyles. “The recyclemania competition is great and I am partaking in it, but I think schools should make individual efforts like E=MC2 to be more green,” she said.

Another group of students contributing to the Recyclemania discord at USF are the unaware.

“Recyclemania? What is that?” undeclared freshman Karen Foo asked as she tossed her empty Sobe bottle in the recycling bin at Market Café. “There isn’t enough advertising about it, none of my friends have ever mentioned it, nor have any of my professors,” she said.

In the 2010 competition, USF currently holds fifth place in the category of largest amount of recycled food service organics per person, but is not top ranked in any other category. Photo Illustration by Cass Krughoff/Foghorn

She wasn’t the only one who had a similar argument for being oblivious to the competition. A group of students in Market Café also blamed their lack of knowledge on inadequate advertising despite the Recyclemania placard that sat dead-smack in the center of their table. “No one reads these things,” said Jake Salamy, a junior at USF. “Had I known we were competing with other schools, I would have recycled all those Red Bull cans I’ve been tossing in the garbage can for the last three years.”

This is the very thing that upsets students like Jana Hendricks, an African American Studies major at USF, furthering the discrepancy of views on the competition.  “It’s unfortunate that competition between universities is the driving force propelling ‘recyclemaniacs’ to take a step towards saving the earth,” she said.  In spite of that, Hendricks admitted that it’s still a sign of progress that participating schools across the country are gathering their recyclables for the 10-week-long journey to win.  “But what happens when the ten weeks are over?” she asked. Do students merely relapse to their old, insensitive ways of dumping compostable and recyclable items?

In the opinion of Gary Flint, a sophomore environmental studies major at USF, the answer is “not really.” While some students don’t decipher between the big blue recycle bins and other waste bins, he said, “Many students here are conscious of the differences between the two and their impact on the environment year-round.”

While there is a massive number of Dons who haven’t a clue that USF is involved in a national recycling competition, many students who support the movement claim that it is a giant leap for universities and will drastically better the earth. Other students beg to differ.

“The environmental issues that the world faces right now are so far beyond recycling,” said Michael Stitinovich, a senior accounting student. “We’re talking billions of tons of carbon emissions yearly. There are so many students here that drive gas-guzzling cars and smoke packs of cigarettes daily. All I’m saying is, we can do more than recycle soda cans.”


Semester Ends With Rape Reflection

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Assistant Hall Director Jenna Recupero helped lead the Take Back the Night march last Thursday. The event seeks to make females feel safe from sexual predators by demanding the right to “take back the night.” (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn)

In the semester ensuing four alleged counts of rape by and against USF students, the wounded community took a moment to heal last week with a series of events aimed at sexual violence awareness and prevention.
Major events in the series included an evening event called Create Against Rape, the Take Back the Night march, the Clothesline Project, an art display in the Crossroads Gallery and a display called These Hands Don’t Hurt outside of the Health Promotion Services office.

Though USF hosts some of these events annually, this year they were more powerful in number of events and number of participants. Jenna Recupero, assistant hall director for Gillson and co-chair of the Women’s Empowerment (WE) committee, said, “This year, this particular week was more significant due to events that happened earlier this semester.”

The momentous response to the alleged rapes was triggered long ago. In the months since the original allegations were made public, a grassroots student movement has organized weekly forums in Parina Lounge where the community got together to talk about their concerns about sexual violence on campus.
Calling themselves Students Taking Action Against Sexual Violence, the unofficial club got the attention of some of the school’s top administrators, Dean of Students Mary Wardell, Vice President of University Life Margaret Higgins, and

President Stephen A. Privett, SJ. With persistence, they fought for and achieved reopening a Women’s Resource Center.

“This is a very serious issue and we need to keep it at the forefront of students’ consciousness,” said senior Erika Carlsen, who was one of the students taking action early on after Public Safety announced the rapes had occurred.

The WE committee, usually reserved for resident advisors and Office of Residence Life staff, invited these student activists to join in their efforts this year to make the events stronger.

Other organizations united to host an evening event against sexual assault. Representatives from Residence Hall Association, Lambda Theta Phi, Black Student Union and Delta Zeta, came together to host the first ever Create Against Rape event. Students along with volunteers from San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) enjoyed an evening of creative responses to rape that included interactive games and poetry readings along with an educational component from SFWAR.

Thursday night, an annual event called Take Back the Night took place. After meeting in Harney Plaza, students marched through the campus and surrounding neighborhood, chanting loudly and garnering honks and waves from supportive vehicle drivers. Afterward they gathered in the Kalmanovitz Amphitheatre to share deeply personal experiences with sexual assault. Many tears were shed. Vice President of Social Justice Alia Al-Sharif, who attended the Take Back the Night event, said, “Having a large audience to share personal stories with in a safe space was very healing.”

The week of events culminated Saturday as many clubs, organizations, and individuals came together to join the greater community by participating in the San Francisco Walk Against Rape, a three-mile walk starting in Justin Herman Plaza and ending in a rally in Dolores Park.

Recupero said she was excited to see how many people from USF and San Francisco at large were there. In only its fourth year, she said, the walk is growing “bigger, more involved,” each year.

Al-Sharif said of the week, “I think it helped the community heal, especially for sexual violence victims and their families.”

Letter to the Editor: ASUSF VP of Social Justice Says Join the Open Forum on Sexual Awareness

Dear Fellow USF Community Member,

During weeks following the sexual assault incidents that have occurred on campus, individuals from the USF community including students, faculty, administration and additional San Francisco community members have met every Thursday at dead hour to participate in a community dialogue. The first forum following the incident was a space in which people could freely voice their opinions and reactions toward what happened, as well as addressing the community response thus far. Education about sexual assault was a key element at this forum, as well as addressing the response from the administration. The colonel of the ROTC program at USF was also in attendance, and he addressed questions and concerns by community members.

The second forum was dedicated to talking about the ways in which we can take action, and bring awareness to the community. Community members decided on an initiative group they would like to participate in. Each group focuses on a different approach to addressing sexual assault on campus. These groups are geared towards, but not limited to, creating a women’s center on campus, women’s and men’s groups on campus, and a 24-hour sexual assault hotline for students to call; developing anonymous ways to report sexual assault, implementing a new student mandatory orientation on rape and sexual assault, general safety forums, “I consent” workshops, examining the USF drinking policy in relation to sexual assault, ROTC curriculum on the USF campus, raising awareness throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, holding vigils on the USF campus, spurring curriculum development, cultural diversity requirement amendments for the entire student body, a more progressive sexual assault policy and art projects to serve as a visual response to sexual violence.

Each specific group will address each individual form of community response, and take the initiative to implement the steps of action on campus. Currently, the structure for the Women’s & Men’s

Support/Conversation groups have been developing. The current mission statement for the Women’s group includes forming a “group that seeks to provide open dialogue, support, advocacy, education and accessible resources to all USF women” as well as stating that the group will “collectively work to break down societal gender structures and roles, and foster unity and empowerment in a safe space.” The pivotal role of this organization is to “create a community that encourages positive relationships and bonding among women,” in addition to “working in solidarity with other campus organizations… to commit to working in coalition to achieve social change.”

The entire community is invited to continue to meet and reflect, and discuss how each committee is implementing its goals and also ways in which we can support one another. Currently, community members are seeking the avenues in which funding can be received to make the steps of action a reality. This is not an isolated incident and it will not go unaddressed on this campus.

We hope that you will join in the conversation and take action on our campus! Come any Thursday during dead hour 12:15-1:15 p.m. in Parina Lounge.

Thank you.

Alia M. Al-Sharif
Vice President of Social Justice, ASUSF Senate

A letter to the Community Regarding Sexual Assault Response Forums

Dear Fellow USF Community Member,

Over the past few weeks, following the sexual assault incidents that have occurred on campus, individuals from the USF Community including: students, faculty, administration and additional San Francisco community members have met every Thursday at dead hour to participate in a community dialogue. The first forum following the incident was a space in which people could freely voice their opinions and reactions toward what happened, as well as addressing the community response thus far. Education about sexual assault was a key element at this forum, as well as addressing the response from the administration. The Colonel of the ROTC program at USF was also in attendance, and he addressed questions and concerns by community members.

The second forum was dedicated to talking about the ways in which we can take action, and bring awareness to the community. Community members decided on an initiative group they would like to participate in. Each group focuses on a different approach to addressing sexual assault on campus. These groups are geared towards, but not limited to, creating a women’s center on campus, women’s and men’s groups on campus, and a 24-hour sexual assault hotline for students to call; developing anonymous ways to report sexual assault, implementing a new student mandatory orientation on rape and sexual assault, general safety forums, “I consent” workshops, examining the USF drinking policy in relation to sexual assault, ROTC curriculum on the USF campus, raising awareness throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, holding vigils on the USF campus, spurring curriculum development, cultural diversity requirement amendments for the entire student body, a more progressive sexual assault policy, and art projects to serve as a visual response to sexual violence.

Each specific group will address each individual form of community response, and take the initiative to implement the steps of action on campus. Currently, the structure for the Women\’s & Men\’s Support/Conversation groups have been developing. The current mission statement for the Women’s group includes forming a “group that seeks to provide open dialogue, support, advocacy, education and accessible resources to all USF women” as well as stating that the group will “collectively, work to break down societal gender structures and roles, and foster unity and empowerment in a safe space”. The pivotal role of this organization is to “create a community that encourages positive relationships and bonding among women,” in addition to “working in solidarity with other campus organizations… to commit to working in coalition to achieve social change.”

The entire community is invited to continue to meet to reflect, and discuss how each committee is implementing its goals and also ways in which we can support one another. Currently, community members are seeking the avenues in which funding can be received to make the steps of action a reality. This is not an isolated incident and it will not go un-addressed on this campus.

We hope that you will join in the conversation and take action on our campus! Come any Thursday during dead hour 12:15-1:15 Parina Lounge.

Thank you.

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