Friday, April 25, 2008

Cottey College

It's our last gig of the semester and it also happens to be my Mom's birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!) Just look at all those super sexually empowered kiddos sporting their new sexually empowered swag. We are so proud! Thanks to the ladies of Cottey who treated us like one of their own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sex & Love

Dr. Jen McWeeny’s Sex and Love Philosophy class at John Carroll University planned an entire week of awareness and we were lucky enough to score the Monday night spot. It was such an honor to work with this group of students and their community and rather interesting as well as inspiring to learn what their unique philosophy class was all about. Apparently Love and Sex is a common course in philosophy departments. We had no idea! This particular course was designed from scratch by Dr. McWeeny as a means to give the students an academic forum to discuss and learn about domestic abuse and sexual assault. Is that awesome or what?

Dr. McWeeny discovered a unique way of challenging students not only to re-examine what they believe and why, but to think out loud and push beyond what they read and learn to find something new that can and should be done to change their campus, community and the world. She has truly inspired the students at John Carroll to make a difference and for that we thank her a million times over.

Becca and I always tell people that we continue to be inspired by the students and professionals we get the opportunity to work with and this is another amazing example of how totally lucky we are to have people like Dr. McWeeny and her students walk into our lives.

Truly lucky and ever so grateful,

Friday, April 18, 2008

Da Canes!

Just a few of the members of No Zebra's at Miami.

We had such a great time at the University of Miami. We got a chance to have a private session with a group of students leaders prior to our keynote and if these folks are any indication of the quality of the students at Miami then da Canes have definitely got it going on. These students were eager, smart, funny, enthusiastic and ready to bring positive change to their campus community. I can't wait to hear about all the great things they are able to accomplish in the coming years. Rock on Miami!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barry University

The smart, talented and beautiful Eileen brought us back to Barry this year to speak to the ladies on campus and we are so glad she did! We had a fabulous time hanging out with these girls. It is such an honor for us to meet and work with college students and campus professionals, and especially cool when they're sporting our campaign t-shirts. : ) Our new friends at Barry are feeling super sexually empowered and we could not be more proud!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Roll Tide!

We arrived almost an hour early for our gig at Alabama...this is a record and quite a change to our usual 5 minutes late arrival time. We are full of surprises! To kill time we explored the student union and hung out with one super fly mascot (Kelly strikes a pose above). This was our second time at the University of Alabama and since it happens to be one of our all time favorite campuses we were thrilled to have another chance to visit. A big thanks to sista' Kimberly for hosting us. Roll Tide Baby!

Monday, April 14, 2008

2008 the year of abundance?

Is it just me or does 2008 seem to be a year of rebirth and new beginnings? I pegged this year in 2007 as the year of abundance...but boy even I was in for a few surprises.
Professionally Kelly and I have had an amazing time this term. The people we have met, the stories they have shared will be with us forever. We have had our share of travel mishaps but it is all a part of the ride. However, I never knew I could get so much of my beauty routine accomplished in a airport bathroom. Hot!

We were honored to be featured presenters at three of the most prestigious conferences in our field. The NACA National (it is like going to the coolest college camp) if you are still in school and can join the programming board- RUN don't walk to make that happen. MGCA which is the big daddy of all Greek regionals. Thousands of leaders from all over the country converge on Chicago and work to better their campuses and communities. If MGCA is the big daddy then without question SEPC is the hot mama! The conference I proudly attended as a undergraduate Panhellenic officer and have have now presented at at least six times honored us with a featured session. Now, say what you will about the south (but be nice, my mom is from Georgia) but these women are making things happen. If you ever want to look determination and dedication in the eye make plans to join us here next year.

We were also honored with the highly regarded "Speaker of the Year" nomination from the good folks at Campus Activities Magazine. Wow. we were floored and humbled. It was pretty awesome. Even more shocking we (the only women up for the honor) took the silver. Not bad for two gals with a dream.

However great work has been, nothing has prepared me for all the reminders of how blessed I am at home. First of all my husband is the best thing (next to Kelly) that has ever happened to me. He calms the storm. Just last night while I was immersed in the new episode of Desperate Housewives he came home and had picked me up and prepared a chocolate lava cake. He is a dreamboat. What really makes him special is his ability to always understand me even when he does not agree. Over the past 11 going on 12 years we have found an amazing rhythm that simply improves over time. For the past few months I have also watched my better half work with our latest rescue Duke, the Doberman with such kindness and determination that it is beautiful.
So as I pack up today for the last two weeks of travel for the semester I am fully committed to making each and every moment count. I look forward to meeting new students and learning from them. Seeing new places and further developing an appreciation for our beautiful country and while missing home knowing that we have the full support of our partners and families to live this crazy dream we crafted so many years ago.

I look forward to sharing more exciting things with all of you in the coming months and I thank you for the profound impact you have had on my life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sig Ep's totally rule!

The Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon
We were honored to be invited to the University of San Diego to be a part of Panhellenic's Philanthropy week hosted by Sigma Phi Epsilon. They had some serious stuff going down this week...a self defense class, donation drive to collect prom dresses for high school students, a toiletry drive for a loal women's shelter, an evening dedicated to sexual assault awareness and the grand finally of it was an official dance off. How fabulous is that? All in fun to raise awareness as well as some major fundage to support a foundation which was founded by an alumni member of Sig Ep. They were half way to their fundraising goal when we were on campus Wednesday and they felt confident that they would reach the $70,000 mark (which would double the school record). WOW! That's absolutely amazing.
Ryan, Becca, Kelly and Dave

Monday, April 07, 2008

Have time for a quickie?

An Organizational Leadership class at the University of Tampa selected Unite For Change as their spring semester project. What a terrific opportunity for free consulting services from students (future leaders of America!) and a chance to improve the Unite For Change campaign for YOU!
You will totally make our day if you would take just a couple minutes of your precious time and donate them to a good cause. It's simple and painless! Follow the link below to participate in a short on-line survey. It will help our new buds at UT with their project and in the end it will help us ALL by improving the services of Unite For Change. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rape in our Military

As a proud supporter of the military I find these numbers shocking and heart wrenching. So many outstanding American's are being disgraced by such actions. Do you think this article is fair? Too biased? Or are we blinded by our loyalty to our armed forces? I would love to hear your thoughts.

LA Times
Rapists in the ranks
Sexual assaults are frequent, and frequently ignored, in the armed services.
By Jane Harman
March 31, 2008
The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.

These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult.

The Defense Department has made some efforts to manage this epidemic -- most notably in 2005, after the media received anonymous e-mail messages about sexual assaults at the Air Force Academy. The media scrutiny and congressional attention that followed led the DOD to create the Sexual Assault and Response Office. Since its inception, the office has initiated education and training programs, which have improved the reporting of cases of rapes and other sexual assaults. But more must be done to prevent attacks and to increase accountability.

At the heart of this crisis is an apparent inability or unwillingness to prosecute rapists in the ranks. According to DOD statistics, only 181 out of 2,212 subjects investigated for sexual assault in 2007, including 1,259 reports of rape, were referred to courts-martial, the equivalent of a criminal prosecution in the military. Another 218 were handled via nonpunitive administrative action or discharge, and 201 subjects were disciplined through "nonjudicial punishment," which means they may have been confined to quarters, assigned extra duty or received a similar slap on the wrist. In nearly half of the cases investigated, the chain of command took no action; more than a third of the time, that was because of "insufficient evidence."

This is in stark contrast to the civilian trend of prosecuting sexual assault. In California, for example, 44% of reported rapes result in arrests, and 64% of those who are arrested are prosecuted, according to the California Department of Justice.

The DOD must close this gap and remove the obstacles to effective investigation and prosecution. Failure to do so produces two harmful consequences: It deters victims from reporting, and it fails to deter offenders. The absence of rigorous prosecution perpetuates a culture tolerant of sexual assault -- an attitude that says "boys will be boys."

I have raised the issue with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Although I believe that he is concerned, thus far, the military's response has been underwhelming -- and the apparent lack of urgency is inexcusable.

Congress is not doing much better. Although these sexual assault statistics are readily available, our oversight has failed to come to grips with the magnitude of the crisis. The abhorrent and graphic nature of the reports may make people uncomfortable, but that is no excuse for inaction. Congressional hearings are urgently needed to highlight the failure of existing policies. Most of our servicewomen and men are patriotic, courageous and hardworking people who embody the best of what it means to be an American. The failure to address military sexual assault runs counter to those ideals and shames us all.

Jane Harman (D-Venice) chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence.