Five years ago, Mason students and staff made a pledge to end sexual violence on campus. Today, this pledge continues to be carried out through Mason’s Chapter Next: Ending Sexual Violence program.
The program is led by the Women and Gender Studies Center, Leadership Education Development (LEAD) Office and Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC).
Originally called Fear to Freedom, this event became known as Chapter Next just two years ago as the program began to grow and expand.
It provides the opportunity for both students and faculty within the Mason community to join hands in putting an end to sexual violence on campus by engaging in training, conversation and promoting outreach.
The event began with a word from Women and Gender Studies Director Angela Hattery, who exphasized the importance of adressing sexual violence in relation to both Mason and larger communities.
“This is not just a Mason specific issue … we are part of a broader community,” said Hattery.
Interim President Anne Holton was also present at Chapter Next, engaging with members of the Mason community.
“It’s great to see this many students here … to both focus on the importance of ending sexual violence here on campus, and also on figuring out ways to address our community and give back,” said Holton.
“The community support is huge, the sense of having people behind you that will believe in you and support you,” said Batool Ibrahim, a student employee in the LEAD Office who helped organize and run Chapter Next.
At this year’s event, representatives from student organizations such as Mason for Survivors, and Social Action and Integrative Learning(SAIL) within the School of Integrative Studies filled the HUB Ballroom to be part of this initiative.
Women Giving Back, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women and children in crisis, also joined the Mason community at this year’s Chapter Next.
Students had the opportunity to make “snack packs” together for children in need through Women Giving Back.
The night ended with students being encouraged to take part in an interactive “walk through,” where they could read facts, statistics, stories and personal accounts of sexual assault and violence.