WAVE fights back; wins New Student Org. Award

Andrea Llin

Matt Andrew

The Women Activists and Allies Vocalizing Equality Organization (WAVE) on campus has recently been awarded the Best New Student Organization of the Year. The members of WAVE have dedicated much time and effort toward their new organization, in hopes of increasing the awareness of violence and sexual assault on campus.

Senior sociology major and president of WAVE, Leah Silverstone became interested in organizing a women’s group on campus after taking two women’s studies courses during her sophomore year. She met with Christina Giani, a junior sociology major and current vice president of WAVE, when they traveled to the National Young Women’s Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

“When we got back, we started drafting the constitution for WAVE,” Silverstone said.

Prior to the formation of WAVE no current student organizations focused on women’s rights and sexual assault. For a campus with a student body majority made up of females, many students found a women’s organization to be of high importance.

WAVE treasurer Lauren Misuraca said, “I joined because I feel that there is not enough concern about women’s issues on this campus, but I know of a lot of women who want their opinions voiced on campus.”

“I think the organization deals with a subject matter that is extremely important for the safety of many college students on campus,” said Kristen Campbell, a senior health science major.

WAVE has dedicated its time and efforts toward several events on campus ranging from an event titled “Drunk Sex or Date Rape” which included a martial arts self defense demonstration to an event raising money to train a midwife in Afghanistan.

This semester, WAVE has organized and implemented two large events on campus: “The Clothesline Project” and “Take Back the Night,” both sponsored by the Student Programming Board, SHADES and RHC. “The Clothesline Project” is an opportunity for victims of rape and sexual assault to express their feelings about their past experiences. Members hope this will raise awareness about women’s issues for Quinnipiac students and cause a change in the frequency of sexual assault on campus.

“This is an event that will show that even though it’s not spoken about, sexual assault does happen here at Quinnipiac,” said Brittany Enz, a senior health science major.

“The Clothesline Project” stemmed from a conference with the Feminist Majority Foundation in October. From April 14-18, 50 t-shirts were hung in the cafeteria, displaying emotional outcries from real victims of sexual assault. According to many students, the t-shirts had an enormous effect on their views about sexual assault.

Senior media studies major Jared Zeidman said, “The display of t-shirts was like a battle cry. There are people out there who have suffered from the same thing and this allows victims to work together.”

“Take Back the Night” took place on April 21 in Buckman theatre. Former Miss Connecticut 2006, Heidi Voight, was the guest speaker for the event, where she discussed issues of sexual assault and violence against women. Sexual assault statistics hit close to home, when Professor Lori Sudderth spoke about the prominence of sexual assault and rape here at Quinnipiac. At the end of the event, a candlelight vigil took place, where students took part in a unity walk around the quad.

“Take Back the Night was about empowerment and reclaiming the night,” Silverstone said.

In its short existence so far WAVE has accomplished a sufficient amount of their goals. Many students are pleased to have this new organization available to the Quinnipiac community.

“As a first year organization they, a strong group of committed and motivated women, have come together to change a campus, to educate individuals, males and females alike, on issues ranging from women’s rights to sexual assault,” said Lorella Praeli, a freshman political science major.

WAVE is an organization that women and men who would like to make a difference on campus should consider. They have weekly open meetings every other Thursday and encourage participation. Some of WAVE’s future goals include fundraising, more events raising awareness about women’s issues and a possible women’s crisis hotline or center on campus.