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Awareness groups at Drake promote issues

Photo by Jeremy Leong, staff photographer

From sidewalk chalk to posters to shoes, Drake’s awareness groups have been making themselves known all across campus. Rarely can a student walk to class without seeing one of their advertisements, be it posted on the wall, walk or window. While they have had mixed reactions from students, the members of these groups still consider their efforts worthwhile.

Junior Kylie Rush is a member of both SAGE and the Drake University Voice of Choice. The first acronym stands for Student Activists for Gender Equality. The group is dedicated to raising sexual assault awareness and positive body image across Drake’s campus. Known for their annual Vagina Monologues and chalk messages, SAGE has been running for several years.

“We have had quite a bit of backlash for our programs in the past such as the sexual assault chalkings last week, but we have also received positive feedback from both students and staff,” said Rush.

SAGE has often received critical comments about its programs, but has not wavered in its mission to educate Drake students.

The Drake University Voice of Choice is a renewed group to campus. It had been at Drake previously but has not been active recently. Rush and senior Cate O’Donnell believed that this was the right time and brought the group back to Drake’s campus.

As president, Rush described the group’s goals: “We’ve resurrected this group to promote reproductive rights and healthy sexual activity across campus.” Their aim is slightly similar to SAGE, but Rush still believes in the group’s importance.

While they have not had an event yet, the group is currently planning one named Cupcakes and Condoms. If students can answer sex trivia questions correctly they can earn free cupcakes and condoms. A date has not yet been set for the event, though the group is currently working on it.

These groups have had many mixed reactions throughout the years but have rarely faltered in their goal of awareness. The dictionary defines awareness as having knowledge, cognizant, or being informed of current developments.

Though the groups’ campaigns evoke various responses from students, their effect is undeniable. For even though students may not think of the signs and scrawls in a positive manner, they are still thinking about them.

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