The Rocky Mountain Collegian Reporter

CSU Relay For Life brings in $4600

Birthday balloons, banners, and cake decorated the Moby arena over the weekend as participants of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life fought back against cancer and helped increase the number of birthdays seen around the world.

“The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays, so our goal is to see more birthdays celebrated,” team development chair and sophomore, Katie Ledall said. “That is why we decorated the arena with a birthday theme.”

The Relay For Life is a worldwide event that has been in operation for 26 years.  The relay raises money from donations, which is used to help find cures to cancer and help treat patients with cancer.  CSU joined the Relay For Life four years ago, and has been increasing its contribution to the cause every year.

“The first year we hosted the event we had five teams participate,” Ledall said. “This year we have 62 teams participating.”

The vast growth of the relay at CSU was made possible by the help of the planning committee, which is run by CSU students.

“The event is put on due to an amazing collaboration of students,” executive director for American Cancer Society of Northern Colorado, Scott Dishong said. “This relay would not have been possible without all their hard work.”

Over 590 participants came to the Moby arena on Saturday night to help raise money and awareness about cancer.  The participants from CSU and around the Fort Collins community walked laps around the arena for 12 hours, from 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday.

“It is really cool to see everyone from the community coming together for the same goal,” top participant and anthropology graduate student, Annie Maggard said.

Maggard raised over $1,700, which made here the top participant in the relay.  This was the first time she had participated in the event.

“I did the Relay For Life this year because in the past year I have had two people that are really close to me battle cancer,” Maggard said.

Maggard’s grandfather, Frenchie Maggard, passed away last year after battling Mesothelioma.  In that same year Maggard’s friend and fellow CSU graduate student battled testicular cancer and survived.

“Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer,” team captain for Kappa Delta and senior, Betsey Haight said. “Many of the girls in our sorority, including myself, either have parents or grandparents that have battled cancer.”

Kappa Delta was the top Group at the relay raising over $3,500 for the cause.

“We are unsure of the total number because we are also fundraising on site with a raffle for a night at the Hilton,” Haight said.

Throughout the night numerous events were offered to participants when they were not walking laps.

“We will be offering volleyball and basketball tournaments, swing dance lessons, Zumba, relay contests, two movies, and yoga for in the morning,” Ledall said.

The night’s events would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the donations given by sponsors, Ledall said.  The relay was given a grant of $3,000 from the Residence Hall Association of CSU.  Pizza and burritos were also provided for participants by Chipotle, Papa John’s, and Krazy Karl’s.

The goal for CSU was to earn $33,500 in donations this year.  CSU fulfilled this goal and surpassed it by earning over $46,000 in donations. 

“CSU has one of the top two college relays in the state,” Dishong said. “They have really come a long way in just four years.”

The money the CSU relay earned for the American Cancer Society will be used to fund research nationwide, including research done at CSU.  CSU has received over three million dollars from the American Cancer society to help find cures for cancer.  None of this would be possible without the support and dedication of relay participants.

Sexual Assault Awareness month at CSU

The silence that surrounds sexual assault is being broken at Colorado State University during the month of April, which is seen nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness month.

For the first time in recent history, CSU is campaigning for sexual assault awareness month, sexual assault education coordinator, Monica Collins said. The slogan for the campaign is “Consent Turns Me On,” and it intends to put a positive spin on sex, and educate people on the truths about sexual assault.

 The campaign has created about 24 events that will occur throughout the month of April.  However, education in self-defense is not what is being offered since it does not fit the reality of preventing sexual assaults, Collins said.

The Campaign, instead, has been offering an array of workshops and events that are meant to help inform students about sexual assaults and the type of sexual assault that is present on campus.

“There are two types of sexual assault. One is where the survivor does not know the attacker and the other is where the attacker is an acquaintance of the survivor,” CSU detective Adam Smith said.  “In general, when a sexual assault occurs on campus it almost always is committed by an acquaintance of the survivor, and there is almost always an excessive amount of alcohol present.”

In today’s culture most people categorize a sexual assault as being when a stranger jumps out from behind the bushes late at night and attacks a person, said a CSU nurse practitioner and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Tanja Andreas.  However, this common belief is inconsistent with statistics.

Andreas said, “ I would guess about 95 percent of sexual assault situations on campus involve three things: The sexual assault always involves too much alcohol, possibly to the point where the person may blackout, the assault involves someone they know, and it is rare that physical injury occurs.”

In most situations, the type of sexual assault that occurs on campus can be preventable, detective Smith said.

“People need to be responsible and follow their instincts when they decided to drink,” detective Smith said. “It is important to never drink with people you are unfamiliar with, you should always have a plan that includes a sober friend, and don’t drink excessively.”

The campaign hopes to make these statistics clear to CSU students, and help them learn what consent means in order to prevent sexual assaults from being committed.

“Consent is not the absence of no,” Andreas said. “Consent is saying, ‘yes I want to do this.’ The absents of no is not consent, a clear yes should be given.”

The campaign is also offering activities for survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones, said Collins.

The campaign continues to offer workshops called the clothesline project, which is part of a national program.  The workshops allow survivors to make shirts that represent the experience she or he went through.   All supplies that are needed to create the t-shirts are provided at the workshop and the workshops are private.

“I think the Clothesline Project is an incredible project because it provides an artistic space for survivors and secondhand survivors to display the ways sexual and gender-based violence has impacted their lives,” a participant of the clothesline project said.

The clothesline project is meant to open the seal of silence that surrounds sexual assault, Collins said.  It is also a great healing process for the survivors.  After participants have created their shirt they are welcome to donate it to the project.  The shirts are then hung for the public to see.

“It is a good visual representation of the violence that is occurring in the community,” Collins said.

The clothesline project will be offering a final workshop on April 27.  The shirts will then be hung in the plaza for all people to view, Collins said.

As a way to help educate family members and friends of victims, the campaign is offering workshops to teach people how to support survivors.  The last support workshop will be held on April 26.

“There is a difference between surviving and thriving and that requires a good support system,” said Andreas.

Many times the survivor blames themselves for the incident that occurred and they need reassurance from friends and family that is was not their fault and that they are a good person, Andreas said.

“There are three major ways family and friends can help a survivor cope with the issue,” Andreas said. “First, believe whatever they say to you; never second guess them.  Second, let them know that you love them unconditionally.  Third, encourage the survivor to go to counseling or other support, as it seems appropriate.”

Sexual assault awareness month will come to a close on April 29 with the event called “Take Back the Night Rally”.   The rally will start in the CSU sculpture garden at 7p.m. During this time survivors and activists will be allowed to speak out to the public about sexual assault. There will then be a march from CSU into downtown Fort Collins.

For more information about the Consent Turns Me On campaign visit the website: consentturnsmeon.blogspot.com.  For more resources for survivors contact the CSU Health Network Women’s Clinic at 491-1754.

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