Students, staff members, and community members united outside of the Student Resource Building at 9 a.m. on a cloudy Sunday morning to participate in a 5k marathon. The Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (C.A.R.E) organization, previously known as the Rape Prevention and Education Program, organized the its third annual 5K to bring attention to Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Over 80 people attended the event and contributed $15 each, which will go toward an emergency advocacy fund for students on campus and C.A.R.E. planned to raise over $1,200. The run passed through Isla Vista and the University of California, Santa Barbara campus with posters and balloons highlighting areas where victims of sexual assault can receive help and guidance.
“It’s great to have an opportunity like this,” said Emily Crutcher, the Prevention Education Coordinator for C.A.R.E., “to get students and non-students to come to the campus and learn about all the services we have for students on campus. This route goes through and walks by some of the services we have for students on campus like Health Services, Counseling Services, IV Foot Patrol, so it kind of makes you aware of all the services that are on campus.”
Crutcher said that while most students are informed of these resources their freshman year at UCSB, it’s important to remind them and reinstate their uses and purposes.
“I think,” said Crutcher, “that’s it’s one of those things students might hear about their first year, in terms of what services are available to them, but kind of having that reminder and knowing that throughout their college career these things are available is really important.”
The 5K thus served as both a fundraiser and an educational opportunity, and the Director of C.A.R.E. Jill Dunlap said the money raised will directly help sexual assault survivors.
“Students who are impacted by violence,” said Dunlap, “who need to get a police report or who need to do different things throughout their process that cost extra money that they don’t have, this money will go towards helping survivors and making sure they’re not financially burdened by what has happened to them.”
While a majority of the participants were UCSB students, community members, including California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and UCSB staff and faculty members, participated in the race as well.
Pam Scott is a UCSB housing employee and ran the 5K with a group of fellow UCSB coworkers.
“I think it’s cool for our students to see us get involved on campus, ‘cause we are always asking students to get involved and stressing the importance of it. I think that having us show up at these events and participate really is leading by example.”
Scott said that since a lot of student run around campus for exercise, combining the campaign with a 5K was a smart decision.
“I think this is a really active kind of community,” said Scott, “so this is a really neat way to kind of combine stuff that people are gonna do already so the running piece and getting people involved with the educational component of ‘these are the resources we have on campus’ and it’s pretty creative.”
Organizations throughout UCSB have been getting involved with the promotion. Take Back the Night and the External Vice President of Local Affairs, office began a campaign back in February to bring attention to the issue, placing billboards along the campus bike path that stated the excuses and statistics of sexual assault. Taja Davis, the County Liason for EVPLA, said she plans to conclude the campaign with a set of billboards explaining the consequences.
“We are also looking to collaborate with Take Back the Night again to put on a big event at the end of this month in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness,” Davis said.