For the past couple of years, SHAPE (Sexual Assault, Hazing, and Alcohol Prevention Education) has put on their annual SHAPE Carnival. This year was SHAPE’s fifth annual carnival, and it was held on Oct. 15 on Cruz Plaza from 5-7p.m.
The groups is composed of faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to broadcasting issues about sexual assault, hazing and alcohol awareness throughout the year. With the SHAPE Carnival, students are given a chance to learn facts about these issues in ways that are meant to be fun and interesting.
Many of the student organizations on campus took part in the event by hosting booths with games dedicated to raise awareness about different issues. They also gave out prizes and candy.
According to graduate assistant for SHAPE, Sara Black, the SHAPE Carnival began as “an alternative to lecture series.” The lecture series, that included national speakers, did not seem to be a very effective route to reach students with this kind of information.
The purpose of the carnival is to provide a way to bring the information to students in a more interactive and fun way. Black goes on to say that it allowed “peers to teach peers.” Students and organizations learn facts about the issues of sexual assault, hazing, and alcohol prevention while preparing ways to show this information at their booths during the carnival.
This event has grown over the past five years, starting with 20 participating organizations in 2009 and increasing to 31 organizations this year. The groups included both Greek and non-Greek organizations, and they all came together to help spread awareness to their peers.
The SHAPE Carnival has turned out to be a successful event. With 31 student organizations this year, topics that were discussed included alcohol, drugs, date rape drugs, relationship violence, sexual assault, hazing, stalking and so much more.
Students who attended the event received a “passport” at the beginning of the event for each booth they visited to sign. If the participants received at least 25 signatures from the booths, their passport would be entered into a raffle.
SHAPE decided to change things up a bit this year by having a raffle instead of having free t-shirts. The prizes that were up for grabs were 12 gift baskets with themes of Mercer Spirit, Movie Night and Exam Cram. There were also 10 gift cards, including ones for Margaritas, Francar’s and Jittery Joe’s entered in the raffle. The winners will be announced the following week.
Sara Black explains that SHAPE is always thankful for the numerous organizations that participate and the many students who come to the carnival. She goes on to say, “We could not do it without you and we hope you all had a great time! Keep on the look out for more great SHAPE events!”
This event continues to grow, informing the students on our campus. The SHAPE Carnival is another successful example of Mercer’s student’s commitment to increasing awareness about these current and important issues.