Be a (real) good neighbor

The college works to end sexual assault, but are students ready to accept positive change?

On my third day at Franklin, I, along with other incoming freshmen, was instructed to view the “Be A Good Neighbor” seminar as hosted by the Counseling Center and activist performing group Act Out. This served as an introduction to the school’s mission of tackling sexual assault before it has a chance to ruin lives on campus.

In fact, Franklin College as an institution is meeting best practices in preventing sexual assault on and off campus and in building better habits among students as individuals.

It remains one of only 11 higher learning institutions committed to the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault Campus Consortium, a coalition of said institutions working together to implement education and prevention programs that meet nationally recognized best practices. 

Additionally, counselor Sara Kinder explained that the new EverFi Haven and AlcoholEdu modules issued to incoming students over the summer is a step ahead of programs previously administered.

While it costs the college considerably more in funding, Kinder emphasized that the benefits and quality of the education far outweighed any cost. Previously, students could skim through the program without learning much of anything.

Not only does EverFi ensure students learn valuable preventative measures, but it grants the campus with additional resources in crafting a more protective and open campus environment, including the use of an all-expenses-paid campus climate survey.

But are we ready to receive these amazing resources?

In daily life, blatant contempt stomps around residence halls, through the dining hall and on Dame Mall. Out of ignorance or cultural desensitization.

Revisiting the Be a Good Neighbor acting scenarios, I found myself surrounded by new students refusing to view situations that lead to sexual assault with seriousness and neutrality.

Sexualized jokes were tossed around left and right, by men and by women. Contempt reigned.

However, from the few voices in the crowd that shattered the giggles, the jokes and the contempt held steadfast in projecting a message of protection for victims, I know there is hope for radical change.

To the Class of 2021—none of us are perfect. As adults-in-training, we have much yet to learn about ourselves and this strange new land we call home.

Together, and with the help of college leadership that wants us to care, we can and should be (real) good neighbors to all.

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About Erica Irish 18 Articles
Erica Irish is a reporter and photographer for The Franklin. She is a double-major in Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations and plans to minor in Political Science. As a lifelong writer and observer of the world, Erica spends most of her days wandering local cities while taking photos and listening to the stories of those around her. A coffee connoisseur and vegetarian, Erica balances a lack of physical activity with a healthy love of needless food-based aesthetics and competitive library scouting. This is Erica's first year on The Franklin staff.

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