Thursday, April 27, 2017

Commons Campaign Portfolio / Domestic Violence

Eveen Ajir, Emily Milligan, Dominic Yarabe, and Jake Parker's Campaign Portfolio

Commons Campaign Proposal
  • Exigence
    • The issue that my group has decided to tackle is the lack of resources and knowledge concerning domestic violence given to young college students.
  • Audience(s)
    • College youth (first years)
    • Victims/witnesses of domestic abuse
  • Constraints and Opportunities
    • Perhaps professors not wanting us to present
    • Students not being responsive or collaborative
    • Gain audience’s full attention
    • Achieve the much needed awareness in order to make a difference
    • Being able to work with different associations for a good cause
  • Fitting Response
    • Our response to this issue is to create a presentation for first year college students that will educate them about domestic violence as well as places on campus where they can seek help. We will start an organization that will go from classroom to classroom to fulfill our purpose. We believe that first year college students will benefit the most from our presentation; we will be able to tackle large lecture style classes with as many students as possible.
  • What we hope to achieve:
    • Through our presentation, our group would like to educate young college students not only on what domestic violence is, but the forms in which it can take place, and methods of helping anyone who finds themselves in the situation of domestic violence. We want to take preventive measures on campus to ensure that our young undergraduates do not enforce any incorrect stigmas or misconceptions about domestic violence. In conclusion, we hope to be able to create a lasting impact on young college students for the rest of their undergraduate career.
    • Hand out brochures/posters of information to our “audience”
    • Create a 15-20 minute presentation to share with first year college classes
      • Psych class, WGS classes, (maybe) English class
    • Ask students what they think domestic abuse looks like before we start our presentation to set a tone of what we are discussing and to hopefully further educate them.
    • Collaborate with Planned Parenthood and PREVENT UNL student organization for education and tips

Rhetorical Canons:
  • Inventive/Creative:
    • When brainstorming ideas for our commons campaign, we wanted to create an impactful experience that would go beyond raising awareness for the cause around campus. Our proposal is inventive and creative because it takes the next important step; we will actually be reaching out to college youths, who we determined to be the most impressionable, in order to stomp out any misconceptions about domestic violence as early as possible.
  • Structured/Organized:
    • Our commons campaign will be organized through a series of steps. We have already contacted professors to ask permission to speak to their classes. Afterwards, we will set out a schedule for giving our presentations. If we have enough interest, we hope to give one presentation per week.
  • Stylistic Elements:
    • For our style, our presentation will be mostly directed towards first-year students/young adults and what domestic abuse generally looks like as opposed to what it may look like in more mature relationships. Therefore, we will have to give examples and rhetorical situations that would more directly apply to first year college students.
  • Memorable:
    • There will be information, facts, etc. that we will have to have memorized in order for us to perform our presentations in first-year classes.
    • The information presented to our audiences will be informative, yet rhetorical in a way of hopefully impacting the younger audiences to do whatever they can do for victims of domestic violence.
  • Delivery:
    • Our delivery will need to have a more serious tone. If we were to be more nonchalant towards these topics of abuse then our message would not be understood or taken as seriously.

Our Commons Campaign

Firstly, our group decided that it was most important that we educate ourselves before providing information for the public. Therefore, we prepared ourselves through a variety of means including attending meetings and workshops with UNL Prevent and the women’s center. Specifically, the women’s center helped us to narrow in on our topic; through very productive conversations and meetings, we became informed on what tactics work better than others with reaching out to students on campus.  At UNL Prevent, the heads of the organization gave us an educational workshop on how to handle domestic violence from the perspective of a bystander. Lastly, we also reached out to the Friendship Home and conducted an interview with one of the workers there to open our eyes as to what domestic abuse really looks like in young adults in University.
After educating ourselves, we became confident that we could educate our peers on campus about the delicate topics of domestic violence and bystander intervention. Our group created our own presentation, and it was time to put our plan into action. Firstly, we realized that sexual abuse and failed bystander situations were a hot topic among the population of students on campus who attended parties. Furthermore, many greek organizations on campus have recently come under attack for allegations of sexual abuse, leading to an environment where many college students felt unsafe. After speaking with the women’s center, we found that greek organizations were also one of their primary targets for workshops and presentations on the subject.
Therefore, we decided to reach out to a greek organization to give a presentation on domestic violence. Our group came into contact with Sigma Psi Zeta, a sorority whose philanthropy is to combat the violence against women. The sorority was hosting a series of interest events whose audience was primarily freshman year college students interested in rushing for greek life. We learned that on Wednesday, April 12th, the ladies of Sigma Psi Zeta would hold an interest event that was centered around a discussion of domestic violence. Therefore, our group decided to collaborate with Sigma Psi Zeta and gave a presentation to the incoming Freshman because that was one of our target audiences. After we gave our presentation, the women of Sigma Psi Zeta agreed to take on the presentation as a recurring project for educating their new interests. Therefore, for each spring and fall semester that the sorority accepts new recruits, they will be giving our presentation on domestic violence. We were excited to have already made such a lasting impact on greek life in our college community.
Next, we also gave the presentation to a freshman English class and gave them helpful resources to use in the future in case they experience or witness domestic abuse while in college and after. We shared an extremely helpful video that was shared with us from Friendship Home that displayed many early warning signs and red flags that we then later discussed throughout the presentation. Along with the video and red flags that we identified in the presentation, we also provided really useful resources such as the Friendship Home, Voices of Hope, PREVENT UNL and, of course, the Women’s Center here at UNL. Finally, at the end of the presentation we also provided information on how they could donate or volunteer for both Voices of Hope or the Friendship home. Lastly, we opened up the presentation and invited in questions for discussion. We feel like the combination of both the gripping video and then identifying the behaviors expressed in the video was what really helped solidify potentially violent behaviors to the students we presented to. These students may have seen or even expressed these behaviors. Our presentation opened their eyes to what domestic abuse can look like in a young adult relationship, no matter how small the instance or behavior may be.
After giving a presentation to a greek organization on campus and a freshman English class, we decided that we still wanted to reach out to as many college students on campus as we could. The union is a highly trafficked place on campus with students constantly moving in and out, as well as stopping at booths to find out more about organizations or opportunities on campus. Therefore, in collaboration with the women’s center, we decided to set up a booth in the union that went beyond simply raising awareness for domestic violence. The women’s center suggested that we borrow one of their most effective methods for reaching out to college students because of the interactiveness of the activity. They supplied us with a spinning wheel that had a number of potential situations where bystander intervention could take place. For example, one of the potential scenarios on the wheel stated: “You hear a loud argument and then something crashed through the walls of your next door neighbor.” In another scenario, the wheel stated: “Your friend is being grinded on by an unwanted stranger at a party.” These situations were focused on bystander intervention, but they also had scenarios where potential scenarios of domestic violence were taking place.
Using the wheel, we were able to take our project even beyond our initial exigence. We wanted to help not only educate people on domestic violence but educate people on what to do as bystanders of any sort of violent situations. Therefore, our group was also able to educate college students on everyday situations that aren’t always obviously violent in nature. By giving these scenarios to students on campus, it gave them a moment to pause and think about how they would react in that situation. The goal was to expose students to these scenarios before they actually happened so that they could be prepared if it ever did take place. After the students spun the wheel and gave their answers, we gave further suggestions as to what they could do in the situation in order to make sure the conflict is contained and safe for the victim. Furthermore, we wanted to make sure that our booth had a lasting impact on the students. We also gave out different pamphlets sponsored by UNL PREVENT that had information on bystander intervention, domestic violence, and red flags for relationships.
In conclusion, while our project had to undergo adjustments from our initial proposal, we exceeded our expectations for the reach of our audience as well as the exigence that we were tackling. We were unable to give as many presentations to Freshman year courses as we had initially planned for due to logistical manners on professor's abilities to make time for our presentation in the remainder of the semester. However, we were still able to educate freshman through Sigma Psi Zeta, a project that will continue beyond even the timeline of our class, as well as first year college students in an English course. After speaking with UNL PREVENT and the women’s center, we also found that the subject of domestic violence incorporated very well with the topic of bystander intervention, and we were able to make our project still very focused while expanding the scope of the overall mission.  

Evidence of intervention

The image below represents the work log and hours that we put in for monitoring our booth at the union.
Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 12.54.12 PM.png

The following information is the contact information for Sigma Psi Zeta and the freshman year English course:

Sigma Psi Zeta
Name: Connie Nguyen
Position: Recruitment Chair for Sigma Psi Zeta, Inc.
Phone Number: 402-470-7378

Professor of Emily’s English class: 4/20/2017
Arden Hill
Class: English 150: Rhetoric and Inquiry

The following images are documentation of our booth at the union sponsored by UNL PREVENT and the Women’s Center.


Something that we learned from the booth activity was that many people are unsure or unaware of what the best way to go about a certain scenario might be. Some individuals who participated in the activity told us things that we would not recommend doing. For example, one scenario a girl received was “You notice that your friend’s boyfriend is always texting them and asking them where they are. What should you do?”, and the girl replied with, “I would stay out of it because it’s none of my business”. However, this is an inappropriate response because that is how certain cases of domestic abuse can be swept under the rug and not taken seriously if people just ignore it or pretend that it’s not there. To handle these responses with care, it was important that we approached the topic without attacking the girl whose initial response was to be a bystander. Instead, we educated her about the harmful consequences of being a bystander in a situation where the victim could silently be asking for help.
We also learned how incredibly common domestic abuse and violence is. Numerous individuals who participated in our booth activity would say “Oh yeah, I’ve been in this situation”, or, “ I know someone who has experienced this” and they would continue and tell us their or their friends’ story and inform us on how they took care of that situation. It surprised us how many people have experienced some of these types of situations in their lives and how normalized certain behaviors have become in certain relationships. These behaviors include being excessively clingy and dependent on their partner, always needing to know where their partner is at all times, and not letting their have time away for themselves.
Something that we would do differently is change the audience. Although we were able to reach many first year students, it was difficult to coordinate our presentations with first year courses that are already so busy with an abundance of learning materials. It became clear that the constraints that surrounded reaching out to primarily first year students were difficult for us to get past. Therefore, in order to save time, our group decided that we should target organizations on campus instead. Organizations such as Sigma Psi Zeta, along with UNL Prevent and the women's center, are also able to continue our message and goal for years beyond our project. Therefore, although it was a good idea to reach out to first year students because who may be relatively unexposed to our information, it would be more effective to collaborate with organizations on campus who can take our project under their own wing when working with future freshman recruits.
Our aimed audience was college students and since we hosted a booth at the union during the lunch hours, we expected to have a large amount of college students stop by. Instead, most of them were more focused on getting their lunches and we could tell some of them tried avoiding eye contact so we wouldn’t bother them. However, we were able to interact personally with students which is something that we would not able to do through simply giving presentations. Besides that, the audience we have reached through the booths ranged from first year college students to older adults and even some UNL staff and faculty. They participated and were very thankfully for us being there to support and raise awareness on this topic of domestic violence which is heavily ignored. After reflecting on the project, we realize that each plan comes with pros and cons when choosing an audience and a fitting response to our exigence.
This post should really be called: “How we learned more about our community and humanity once we stepped outside our college classroom and educated our fellow peers.” One thing we can all agree on is the fun we had hosting the booth at the student union. Getting different perspectives from college students about the topic of domestic abuse was eye opening to say the least. We learned how one of the biggest equalizers of our society is storytelling and the sharing of self. We open countless doors of understanding, compassion, education, and empathy when we let the chaos and speed of the cityscape subside and take time to actively listen and communicate with our community members. Together, we can make change – not just a semblance of idealism, but reality, as well.

By Eveen Ajir, Emily Milligan, Dominic Yarabe, and Jake Parker

No comments:

Post a Comment