Suicide Awareness Walk!

This Saturday, April 27, Oshkosh’s 3rd Annual Chester Marcol 5K Walk for Suicide Awareness will take place at the Oshkosh North HS gym. Registration begins at 7:30 am and the walk will begin at 9:00 am. Students can register for just $10, and the proceeds benefit the Community for Hope of Greater Oshkosh.

Two years ago I attended the very first Walk for Suicide. It was a great experience, and I was amazed to discover how many peoples’ lives are affected by suicide. Even with the growing knowledge and availability of mental health services in our community, far too many youth and adults suffer in silence.

To be brief, I have compiled a list of my top 10 reasons to attend the walk this Saturday:

10. It will be way more fun than anything else going on at 9 am on Saturday.

9.  You’ll get some fresh air and exercise.

8.  Lots of free stuff!

7.  Lots of valuable information—also given out for free!

6.  I’ll be there giving windmill high fives to everyone who wants one (trust me, you want one).

5.  You can meet Packer Hall of Fame kicker Chester Marcol. He gives high fives too.

4.  There will be raffles for some amazing prizes, including CUSA tickets and merchandise autographed by Donald Driver and Clay Matthews!

3.  You can show your support to those affected by suicide in our community.

2.  You can receive support if your life has been affected by suicide.

1.  You’ll be supporting a very good cause.

Check out the website for more details on this awesome event:

http://oshkoshsuicideawareness.com/

 

What did you say?

That’s so… unnecessary

By: Nat Unger, U Matter Social Media/PR Intern

How many times have you walked around campus and heard someone say “Gay” in a way that is disrespectful and does not encompass what the words really mean?

“That’s so gay.”

Let’s spend some time interpreting what this phrase could mean.  First, for some definitions of the word gay.  Google brought back:

Adjective-(of a person, esp. a man) Homosexual.

Noun-A homosexual, esp. a man.thats-so-gay-racist-jokes

Synonyms-merry – cheerful – jolly – joyful – blithe – mirthful

So when someone says, “That’s so gay,” it could mean, “That’s so homosexual” or “That’s so jolly!”  But for some reason, these are not necessarily what people are trying to say when they say that phrase.  Besides, a cruddy homework assignment probably isn’t jolly, and it probably doesn’t identify as a male who is attracted to males.

When people say, “That’s so gay,” they are saying that something is stupid.  In this way, the phrase tears apart someone’s identity because suddenly gay becomes a synonym for stupid.  That’s not fair to someone who is gay, now is it?

Unless you’re using gay as a term for someone’s identity, or perhaps saying that something is cheerful or joyful, you probably shouldn’t be saying that something is gay.  So instead of throwing around someone’s identity, it would be better if you use words that actually fit the situation.

Make a Difference: Language Matters!

Welcome to Language Matters, the facet of UMatter that strives to end the use of language that is prejudice, incensitive or both! This could include the use of words in everyday situations that pertain to someone’s sexual orientation, race or  past experiences just to name a few.

There are many ways to eliminate this type language not only at UWO but on other campuses as well. In spreading this message, we hope to shed some light on the impact of the words people choose. Here are just a few steps that you can take to become an advocate for this cause:

Don’t ignore it. If you hear someone say something off-color that could be offensive, call them out in a respectful manner and explain to them the impact of their words.

Be prepared for possible tension or conflict. This is a sensitive topic that many people may not be aware of. Be aware that the situation could get uncomfortable but stand your ground!

Be non-judgmental, but know the bottom line. There are a lot of good people who say things without thinking about them first. Don’t hold it against them, just know when to step in and explain to them why they should not have said what they said!

Be aware of your own hesitancy to intervene. We have all done this, choosing not to intervene in certain situations. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just use it as a learning experience for the next time you could make a difference.

Be a role model. Take charge and live the message. When people see others stand up against hurtful language, they will be more inclined to do so also. Be the leader!

These are all great ways to begin making yourself and others aware of the hurtful things that are said every single day! Every time you approach someone about this issue you can make a difference for victims of such words.

 

 

 

Mocktails are a Delicious and Safe Alternative

BAC Matters is one facet of a much larger campus initiative called UMatter.  The goal of BAC Matters is to encourage students to make safe and responsible decisions regarding the use of alcohol while avoiding the negative consequences that can result.  One of the main ways we work to accomplish this goal is through our delicious MOCKTAILS!

“What exactly is a mocktail?”  Mocktails are like cocktails… but better!  They are fun, mixed drinks that don’t contain any alcohol, taste just as good if not better, are often times much healthier for you, and won’t break the bank.  Those are just a few of the 102 reasons we have come up with to drink mocktails.  You really can’t go wrong sipping on one of these drinks all night long.  The list of mocktails is endless, so whether you like super sweet drinks, or sour/bitter drinks with a bite, you’ll be sure to find one you love.

If you prefer not to drink alcohol, but still want to go out with your friends, mocktails are for you!   You can order just about any drink as a mocktail (just ask the bartender to make your drink “virgin”).  You’ll avoid any pressure to drink because people really can’t tell if you’re holding an alcoholic drink or not.  Having a mocktail in your hand will be sure to alleviate you from any pressuring comments you might receive, and/or help keep you from feeling awkward and left out.  Mocktails are also a great way to pace yourself if you do choose to drink.

If you’ve never tried a mocktail before, or have never been able to attend one of the many mocktail programs BAC Matters helps host, be sure to check for future programs throughout campus!

A Look at a CARE Peer Educator’s Experience

There I sat in my typical academic advising meeting, chatting with my academic adviser about my upcoming goals and plans. I described my strong desire to help people, no matter my future career may be, and I mentioned that I might be interested in working with victims of domestic violence. My adviser responded, ‘You would be perfect for the CARE Internship! I will email Shelly and give her your name so you can set up an interview.”

I hesitantly said…”Okay..?..Yeah, that sounds like that could be a good experience..I guess?”

Little did I know, the CARE Internship would become one of the most relevant, and impactful experiences of my college career thus far.

I then set up an interview with Shelly Maxwell; I nervously chatted with her about my aspirations, and my reasoning behind wanting to become part of CARE. She explained how CARE (Campus for Awareness and Relationship Education) is a peer education group consisting of female and male ally students focused on raising awareness about healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships and how to tell the difference between the two. CARE strives to promote awareness of relationship and sexual rights, while educating the student body on the services of the Victim’s Advocate. It also promotes and informs students of other campus resources available to them. I could tell this group was for me. I just never realized to what extent this would come to life.

After attending a Peer Educator 101 training session at the very beginning of the semester, I had just begun to recognize the pertinence of all the issues that CARE focuses on. We watched a clip on the importance of bystander intervention, taking a stand against potential perpetrators that are looking to take advantage of their victims that could be in vulnerable situations, such as under the heavy influence of alcohol. Even though the clip showed a situation that was staged with actors as the victims/perpetrators, the bystanders were not actors and were not aware that the situation was staged. As I watched the bystanders passionately stand up for the two people who were acting as potential victims, I was inspired. I know I have been in similar circumstances where I have felt that someone is being treated inappropriately, and needs someone to stand up for them. This person that needs help could be a friend, stranger, or acquaintance. It doesn’t matter. Knowing what to say in the face of a potentially dangerous situation can make all the difference in the world. It has the potential to change a life, or possibly even save a life.

As my semester as a CARE Intern progressed, I continued to have moments of inspiration that caused me to become more and more dedicated to the CARE mission of raising awareness of healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. Every Monday morning, my fellow interns and I discussed our weekly reading, under the guidance and instruction of Shelly Maxwell. I was nervous for these discussions at first; I thought, what if I don’t know what to say? Won’t it be uncomfortable to discuss these challenging, emotional topics with a group I have never met? But, after just the first meeting my fears were put to rest. Shelly made all of us feel comfortable to disclose as much or as little personal information as we wanted. We got to openly discuss the text, and the small group of us made the situation even more comfortable. But because we had very different backgrounds and fields of study at UW-O, we all took different things out of the readings that allowed all of us to expand our views and reactions to the texts. One of the first books we read followed the story of young woman in college and her struggle with alcoholism. This book exemplified the relevance of our mission as CARE peer educators; it was not specifically a book about domestic violence or healthy relationships, but it demonstrated how the circumstances that CARE focuses on are easily relevant in the life of a college student. It was an eye-opening experience for us to begin our time in seminar.

The semester proceeded, and the experiences that drew me to become passionate about CARE and its mission only continued. Then, in October, CARE had a booth at Take Back the Night, that Fox Valley domestic violence rally/march. This caused me to recognize just how many people are passionate about the same causes that we, as peer educators, fight to raise awareness about. During the march, as our voices sounded in the crisp, fall air, I felt so much support and strength from the sense of community that night. What we were doing as an organization was impactful and powerful, and I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to take part in this event.

CARE has expanded my knowledge of so many pertinent issues that I never anticipated learning about during my time as an undergraduate student at UW-O. Stalking and the stereotypes of male and female gender roles are just two of the concepts that I never thought I would leave college with a thorough understanding thereof. But, now I can say that I am well-informed on these, and so many other relevant issues in society today. I also realize the significant importance of word choice, the impact of language on an individual, and the appropriate ways to approach an individual who uses insensitive word choices.

CARE has given me the opportunity to become knowledgeable about so many topics that could potentially help me in my future career, and has made me a better informed and aware member of society. Yes, I may have had no idea what to expect initially. But I am taking away a wealth of knowledge and group of friends and fellow peer educators that I am so thankful for, and will never forget.

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me…or CAN they?

Hi! My name is Lizzie Gill, and I work for the Department of Residence Life as a Community Development Specialist in the area of Diversity Education. The U-Matter team has asked me to guest blog this week on the subject of inclusive language. Last spring, I began working with the U-Matter team and I want to explain a little bit about how it all started.

About a year ago, I went to a conference at UW-Eau Claire for student leaders. WORD. was one of the program offerings, and I figured I’d head to the room and try it out. The presenter, a resident assistant from UW-Milwaukee, came out to the hallway and asked us to wait outside until everyone arrived. She told us that whatever we witness in the room would stay respectfully confidential. I was a little hesitant, since I had no idea what was going on, but it wasn’t long before I realized.

She opened the door, and what I saw inside was disgusting. It really was. The floor, the walls, the ceiling, table and chairs were all covered with derogatory, hateful terms. Ones I don’t feel comfortable writing in this blog. After about a minute of absorbing everything, she led us in an activity about the effects of hurtful words. We talked about our personal experiences with those words and removed them from the room.  After the room was cleared, it was much more welcoming and comfortable, and in a way, think that’s reflective of our community.

It was challenging, thought provoking, and it stuck with me days and weeks after leaving the conference. I heard these words thrown around our hall, without recognizing the history and/or the hurt behind them. I decided that this program was something that Oshkosh needs.

The students from UW-Milwaukee were thrilled that we wanted to bring it to our campus. We adapted it to reflect the UW-Oshkosh experience, including more social justice pieces, such as bias incident training and intervention skill building.

The program is now called Say What?!  Though it wasoriginally planned for Fletcher hall, it has been done across different campus settings. Please, please—if you hear one is being hosted near you—go! It is an amazing discussion about respect and inclusion.

If you have questions about it, I’d love to hear from you! My email address is gille49@uwosh.edu. Thanks, everyone, and good luck with the rest of the semester.

Glow Party Gets Students Involved

Hello everyone!

My name is You Yang, I’m a Community Adviser in South Gruenhagen. I am writing about November 18th’s program: “Glow Party 2012: Don’t Give In, Don’t Give Up, Give Back” program put on my my fellow staff members and I. The event ran from 10pm-2am in Titan Lounge in Gruenhagen Conference Center. This campus event incorporated a ton of aspects that my coworkers and I thought residents and students would really enjoy!
First of all, last year in 2011 my co Therese Schwarz and I decided to do Glow Party as a social program for residents. This event started out as a social, something for residents on a Friday night and an alternative to going out and consuming alcohol. After all the funding requests and all the sponsors, the event turned out to be such a success the two of us decided that this year in 2012 we’d do it again. Along with the full support of our staff members and a few other CAs from other buildings, 2012’s “Glow Party: Don’t Give In, Don’t Give Up, Give Back” again delivered a big hit with +172 attendants.
With all the help from our staff this year, Therese, Matt and I agreed to make 2012’s Glow Party meaningful, educational, open to campus, and to be still fun.
We kept a lot of aspects that worked for us last year as well as improvise and introduce new things. After successfully receiving our funding from USRH and Pepsi Funds, we went straight to work!
First of all, we advertised all throughout campus. Reeve Union put our programs in academic buildings and inside Reeve Union building. Therese Schwarz and Matt Wolfert also worked on a glass display case in Reeve advertising the event. Graphic Artist Alex designed an amazing eye-catching poster and advertised our program on Campus Vision.
A group of us traveled throughout Oshkosh visiting local business big and small with donation letters asking if businesses would like to donate gift cards or coupons to our event to be raffled in a non-perishable food drive. We as a staff wanted to reach out to the community as well as help residents and students reach out as well. Any donated items were incentives to students or residents to bring canned goods to the events and win amazing prizes. Although, we would advise you to go earlier and ask around. A month ahead of time, since some donation decisions go through corporate, need more time, or you personally have to contact them and submit some paperwork. However, we received decent donations, e.g. ($50 Wal-Mart Gift Card, $20 Kodiak Jacks Gift Card, 12 Free Big Apple Bagel coupon, and FVTC donated Barnes and Nobles Gift cards as well at T-Shirts, etc)
We welcomed back our DJ from last year, Drew Kopitzke to play at our event. Residents raved about his performance and he kept the crowd dancing till 2 AM!
We also had Chris Reno from Omega Delta Phi Fraternity return to sponsor our event with Monster Energy Drinks. Their generous support greatly boosted our program and the attendees to the program loved it! I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff? It was cool seeing people’s faces as they carried in the Monster Energy drinks and they were gone within the hour! Chris tells me loves supporting the program and the cause, and this way their fraternity gets to reach out to the community and as well as more students.
The first comers got to decorate their own white tees with highlighter and we gave everyone who entered a glow bracelet and glow stick. A few of our fellow staff members did an awesome job spray painting black table cloths we bought from the dollar store with glow in the dark paint so we could tape them on the windows in Titan Lounge to block out the light. We went all out and even hanged battery operated string lights out in the entrance of GCC to direct students and residents to our program!
We were very proud to obtain 3 big boxes full of donated non-perishables from the food drive which we will be donating to the Salvation Army. It was way more than we had expected. As an incentive, we raffled off the donated items from businesses, we offered bundles likes laundry packs, snack packs, 24″ black light, 19″ LCD HDTV, and an IPod Shuffle. Why such extravagant prizes? We wanted to give away prizes students would actually want to win, the motivation behind the food drive was offering these great prizes and it turned out great!
Another new addition besides the food drive was Mocktails. Julie Gallagher, the representative for BAC Matters for the U Matters Campaign kindly hosted the Mocktail bar all night and informed students on the safety of drinking, peer pressure, and how to make non-alcoholic drinks. Mocktails in addition to this year’s glow party was a huge success! It was quite the experience to dance to your favorite songs, give back to your community, and be educated on alcohol all in the same night.
Everyone did a great job into making the program run smoothly and I guarantee everyone who attended had a ton of fun! We hope to continue Glow Party next year and improve it to make it better!