ASU emphasizes safety, intervention
by Anna Oakes
Speakers at Appalachian State
University’s 23rd annual Walk for Awareness observance Tuesday emphasized the importance of
bystanders in the prevention of violence, calling on them to “say
The official theme — “It’s Up
to Me” — has been repeated throughout the annual “Safety Week” events at
ASU, which also included a “Safety@appstate” resource fair on campus
The Walk for Awareness began in 1989 following the
abduction and murder of university employee Jeni Gray. The walk serves as a reminder to campus and
community members to be aware of their own safety and affirms participants’ commitment and
responsibility to speak out against all forms of violence.
walk began at Sanford Mall, where students gave a choral performance and Provost Lori Gonzalez
addressed the assembly. Gonzalez said as human beings we often hesitate to intervene when we
witness violent acts, but she urged the crowd to run through scenarios in their minds and imagine
what they would do.
“One person’s failure to act can
cause a chain reaction,” she said. “It also works in reverse. Your actions can save
someone’s life forever.”
She encouraged attendees to
make up their minds to always be present and mindful of their surroundings.
“We can change our campus culture, and taking care of each other every day
will become part of our culture,” said Gonzalez. “This can happen. The numbers can come
down. We can and we will make Appalachian and Boone safer.”
The procession marched from the mall to the Holmes Convocation Center, where the
university screened a video featuring interviews of three individuals about their experiences as
witnesses or victims of violence.
The event ended with remarks by
Chancellor Ken Peacock, who said “it’s up to me” to create a campus environment
that is as safe as possible.
“I do it because I care about
you,” he said. “(But) I can’t do it alone. I need every one of you to take it
seriously and make safety your top priority.”
march, one student carried a red flag, a symbol of ASU’s participation in the Red Flag
Campaign. The public awareness campaign is designed to promote the prevention of dating violence
on college campuses using a “bystander intervention” strategy, encouraging friends and
other campus community members to “say something” when they see warning signs for
dating violence in a friend’s relationship.
year, ASU launched the Appalachian Cares webpage, a site with resources, information and updates
about matters of student health and safety. Resources include phone numbers and website addresses
related to reporting crimes, suicide prevention, sexual assault, mental health, counseling and
Students can text “APPCARES” to 50555 for easy mobile bookmarking of the site’s resources.
For more information, visit appcares.appstate.edu.