Office of Health Promotion Hosts Month-long Event Series for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Image depicts eight painted signs made of cardboard, propped up on the front steps of UAlbany’s academic podium. The photo was taken in the evening, and the sky in the background is blue, lightly clouded and darkening. The signs say: your voice matters, believe in survivors, support victims, we love survivors, love should never hurt, love should not hurt, no means no, and everyone knows someone. Small green LED tea lights are scattered around the signs.
“Take Back the Night” signs on display during Monday night’s event. Photo by Kelly Gorman, director of health promotion.

By Erin Frick

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 2, 2024) — Throughout April, the University at Albany’s Office of Health Promotion (OHP) will host a variety of programs, events and tabling opportunities for the campus community to engage with Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Programming is made possible thanks to collaboration with partners on and off campus.  

“With increased engagement opportunities throughout the month, as well as heightened visibility of on and off-campus resources, the Office of Health Promotion aims to create space for campus community members to evaluate, together, how we can build safe and respectful environments for all,” said Mackenzie Bachar, OHP’s sexual violence prevention specialist. “This is a time to reflect on the impact of sexual violence on individuals and our communities as a whole; it is a time to celebrate those who have found support and safety from abusive relationships, and it is a time to create connection for those who work day-to-day to end this violence.”

The programming kicked off with “Take Back the Night,” held on UAlbany’s Uptown campus April 1. The event included a rally, speak out and vigil that brought more than one hundred members of the campus community together to demonstrate support for survivors and envision an end to power-based personal violence.  

“Last night, we witnessed the strength, courage and power of the survivors in our community who were brave enough to show up, speak out and truly Take Back the Night," said Naishaly Vélez Galán, survivor advocate in the Office of Health Promotion. “With survivor support at the core, we look forward to diving into SAAM, where we unite around the power of prevention to foster a community of care that is liberated from power-based personal violence. To all the survivors in our community – we believe you, we support you and you are not alone.”

Throughout the month, those who participate in SAAM events, including all tabling activities, will be entered into a raffle to win prizes including gift cards, novelty items and UAlbany swag. The raffle will be drawn at the end of the month.  

The following events are open to UAlbany students, faculty, and staff. Additional opportunities for faculty and staff will be shared via email from the Employee Assistance Program.

‘The Clothesline Project’ Tabling

Mondays in April:

April 1, 8, 29 in the Campus Center Lobby, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

April 15 and April 22 in the Lecture Center, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“The Clothesline Project” is a visual display bearing witness to interpersonal violence. The display features T-shirts of different colors with messages written by survivors and supporters to symbolize those that have suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Join the Office of Health Promotion at two tabling locations throughout the month of April to learn more about the project and how you can get involved.  

From Monday, April 15 - Tuesday, April 30, the T-shirts will be on display in the Lecture Center. All are invited to come view the interactive installation. Those who wish to communicate their support will have the opportunity to leave compassionate notes to those that have been impacted by power-based personal violence.

Tabling Takeover

Wednesday, April 3, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  

Location: Campus Center Great Hall  

Meet with various UAlbany offices, student groups and clubs to learn about their activities and services for students. Learn about the dynamics of sexual violence, resources available and how you can make a positive difference in your community.

Sexual Violence Resource Tabling

Wednesdays: April 10, 17, 24, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  

Location:  Campus Center Lobby

The Office of Health Promotion will share information about the dynamics of sexual and power-based violence, how best to support survivors in our community and resources available for support on and off campus.  

Each tabling opportunity will earn participants one entry into OHP's Sexual Assault Awareness Month raffle.

Promoting Empowerment: Bystander Intervention Training

Tuesday, April 9, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.  

Location: HUM 109  

Wednesday, April 17, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.  

Location: HUM 132

This training will explore the foundations of power-based personal violence and the key components of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Participants will learn about the experiences of sexual violence on college campuses and the systems and structures which uphold and perpetuate sexual violence within communities.

Participants will explore their own personal values around relationships and ways to support others in developing healthy relationships with their peers and community. Learn about resources and skills to engage in empowered bystander intervention.

SAAM Bingo!

Friday, April 12, from 6 – 8 p.m.

Location: Campus Center Collaboration Lounge  

Relax and unwind with friends by playing bingo and learning about the dynamics of sexual violence and what you can do to help. Learn about strategies to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone on campus. Space is limited, so please arrive early.  

‘Yes, No, Maybe So?’ — Consent Convo with OHP and Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority

Friday, April 19, from 6 – 8 p.m.  

Location: HUM 109

Join OHP and the sisters of Sigma Psi Zeta for a night of community and conversation. Discussion will explore the dynamics of consent, and the ways in which consent education has impacted our understanding of the concept over time. Participants will gain skills and tools to support consent behavior, including strategies for effective bystander intervention.

‘We Care’ with UAlbany and Albany Medical Center

Wednesday, April 24

Volunteer shift opportunities: 

  • 9:30 a.m. Help pick up supplies; meet at Collins Circle to take a bus to Albany Med.
  • 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Volunteers are needed for event set-up and kit packaging at Broadview Center.

Location: Broadview Center will be the hub for the main event happening from 5-8 p.m. 

UAlbany and Albany Medical Center are collaborating with community partners for the 8th annual “We Care” event.  All are invited to help assemble “comfort bags” to be distributed to people affected by sexual violence, distributed by the Division of Forensic Medicine at Albany Medical Center. The goal of the project is to ensure that all sexual assault survivors who are treated at Albany Med leave with dignity and the knowledge that they are supported by a community that cares. Volunteer shifts are available from 9:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. and can be found on EngageUAlbany.  

Additional programs and events will be announced throughout the month. Follow the Office of Health Promotion on Instagram (@ualbanyhealthpromotion) for the latest updates.  

For questions and to learn more, email Mackenzie Bachar.