SUNY Canton launches sexual assault awareness campaign with ‘selfie’ challenge
CANTON -- SUNY Canton is joining a growing movement to combat sexual assault on college campuses by challenging students to a selfie competition.
The issue of sexual assault on North Country campuses gained momentum with the alleged rape of a visitor to SUNY Potsdam by a student last month.SUNY Canton students are being encouraged to take photos of themselves promoting the national "It's On Us" campaign and post them on Instagram and other social media sites.
"U.S. President Barack Obama launched the It's On Us campaign as a rally cry for everyone to realize that the solution to sexual assault and violence begins with all of us," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. "We are joining in the It's On Us campaign by using social media to promote the theme. It's a very good thing when SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand, our president and our students all are speaking with one voice about this important issue."
Student Government Association President Melissa Cummins officially launched the campaign at "Canton's Got Talent" during homecoming weekend. She orchestrated a large group photograph of students holding “It's On Us” signs.
To participate in the contest, students should post photos promoting the “It's On Us” campaign using their own Instagram accounts. The college will monitor responses by searching for the hashtags #sunycanton and #itsonus. Students are also invited to tag the college's Instagram account, @sunycantongram, when posting their photos.
The first-place selfie submission will receive a night out on the town, including transportation and dinner for two at the 1844 House in Potsdam and a movie at the American Theater in Canton. Winners will be announced publicly during a sexual assault awareness event at the college Oct. 20.
Entrants are encouraged to take unique selfie-style photos around SUNY Canton and the community holding a sign recognizing the “It's On Us” motto or the key points of the campaign. Photo submissions may be retweeted, posted or otherwise used to support the college's efforts.
SUNY Canton is sponsoring outreach programs for students during October focusing on sexual assault awareness, prevention and student safety, including:
• A Break the Chain program focusing on dating, domestic violence and sexual violence beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center's Woodcock Conference Suites. The program will conclude with a candlelight vigil. Canton's Renewal House and the college's Counseling Center and several student clubs are involved with planning the event.
• An improvisational show "Sex Signals" that explores how social pressures, gender stereotypes and false preconceptions all contribute to the tensions found in dating. Sex Signals is at 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, in the Miller Campus Center's Kingston Theater. The winner of the selfie challenge will be announced at the show.
There will also be several outreach programs this month in the residence halls and several tables on campus with information on sexual assault.