A new club at Sacred Heart University, SHU StandUp, works to educate the SHU community on prevalent topics, such as sexual assault awareness and bystander intervention. The club was started in November by senior club president Simona Bruno, who was inspired to make a change during RSA training.
“This past summer was my last training,” said Bruno. “When we went through the session about dating violence and sexual abuse, I kind of sat back and thought about how we actually don’t have a club that promotes awareness about these hard topics.”
The session about dating violence that Bruno mentioned is run by Kristen Eschwie, the Project Coordinator for Sacred Heart. Together, they worked to bring the StandUp club to Sacred Heart.
“A constitution and a mission statement had to be created, a certain number of people needed to agree to join/hold positions in the organization, and they needed someone who would agree to be the advisor,” said Eschwie. “I agreed to be the advisor and worked with Simona on hashing out some of the details.”
At their most recent meeting this semester, Stand Up members all responded to the prompt “Love Is…” Members got to write their answers on small pink slips of paper that were given out to students during the club’s table time the following afternoon.
The club is planning on doing more table times to encourage people to join the club as well as spread important information on sexual assault. StandUp is also planning a big event for sexual assault awareness month called Take Back the Night.
“Take Back the Night is kind of like taking back the night that the victim was victimized and kind of having a memorial for them and standing up for them and advocating for them,” said Bruno. “I’m really excited because we’re planning big things for that.”
In addition to Take Back the Night, StandUp plans on helping others outside of the Sacred Heart community. The club plans on doing fundraising events for the Center of Family Justice in Bridgeport which provides free services for all victims of abuse.
“I think it’s really important to start something like this and to spread awareness and resources,” said senior club member Tara Keating. “The fact that we’re talking to places in our own community and bringing not only awareness and aid to people in the Sacred Heart community, but also in the area around us, which is super important.”
Other club members are just as excited and passionate about the club and its goals to spread positivity and awareness about such important topics.
“This club has a lot of important things that it talks about and stuff that hits close to home for me,” said junior club member Victoria Mondelo. “I know when I was going through stuff in high school, I would have loved to have a club like this to go to.”
StandUp club meets Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in room NC104. For more information about the club, email President Simona Bruno at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their Instagram @shu.standup.