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Safer will be launching a new ad campaign featuring student athletes this week.
Members of the men’s lacrosse team, men’s soccer team and women’s basketball team participated in the new campaign, said Stephanie Howard, a liberal studies junior and Safer student assistant as the greek life educator.
“This ad campaign works on educating Cal Poly about intervention vs. bystanding, when you see sexual assault possibly occurring or something that could lead to that,” Howard said.
Student-athletes with a “serious, contemplative look” are on each poster, along with an attention-getting blurb and an afterthought, which demonstrates how someone can intervene in a situation, Howard said. For example, one poster featuring a lacrosse player reads “That drunk girl would be really easy to hook up with … so I made sure her friends got her home safe.”
“I think they turned out great,” Howard said. “Hopefully, they’re attention-grabbing enough that people will look at them.”
The idea was inspired by Missoula Intervention in Action Project’s “Make Your Move” campaign, which Howard saw on Facebook. When she brought the concept to Safer coordinator Christina Kaviani in fall, she got approval and took on the project.
Women’s basketball head coach Faith Mimnaugh, who sits on the Safer committee, said her team was honored to be asked to participate.
“They were all really eager,” Mimnaugh said. “I was really proud that it was something they saw a need for, and they could be helpful in the educational process.”
The campaign banks on the idea that students will recognize and pay attention to advertisements with athletes’ faces, she said. The athletes were glad to help.
“Many athletes were eager to be as helpful as they possibly could,” she said. “Their faces are seen on campus, and on billboards, in the newspaper a lot because of their sports participation. So being able to use that as a vehicle to not just have a report on them, but to make a difference on campus, was a desire of the students.”
Mimnaugh said everything Safer has had its hands on has been successful, so she’s sure it will be an effective campaign.
“I would love to see it impact all the students, for them all to take a second to reflect on what their choices are when they’re in situations that could be dubious, or how it would be interpreted by another person,” she said. “Just to be more thoughtful when they’re going into relationships or when they’re in an environment where things can turn quickly.”
The women’s basketball team has a closer relationship with Safer than other teams, Kaviani said. Each summer, Safer holds presentations for teams in training about sexual assault prevention, but the women’s basketball team goes beyond that.
Though she encourages the women to get involved with Safer’s events — such as self-defense classes or Walk a Mile in Her Shoes — Mimnaugh said it is ultimately the team’s decision to participate. Despite their heavy schedules, they have a great desire to be educators about this topic, she said.
That desire came together visually through the new campaign. Howard has high hopes for what the advertisements will teach students.
“I just want the Cal Poly community to be more aware that sexual assault is happening, and it’s happening at the parties people go to, down at the bars,” Howard said. “And it’s really easy to intervene and stop something like that from happening, vs. just bystanding and not doing anything about it — preventing it before it happens.”