Springfest exhaustingly rewarding for those involved

Springfest co-chair Heather Hartline preparing to test some jousting equipment on a somewhat concerned looking Garrett Shoemake. 2011 was the first year for mud jousting.

Staff Photo by Jerreck McWilliams

Everyone sees mud in Springfest, but what few people get to see is what lies underneath that mud: more mud.

That mud beneath the mud is, of course, a metaphor for all the dirty work that goes into planning, organizing and executing Springfest, the largest student managed event at Southeastern.

This spring was my second in a row co-chairing the Springfest committee for SGA. It has been an experience that has taught me 10 times more than any of my classes here at the university, simply because it confronts you with situations that you just cannot recreate in a classroom.

Rather than go into detail explaining why this is, here is the basic scenario:

• The spring semester has just started.

• You and one of your fellow student senators have just been named co-chairs of the Springfest committee.

• Your responsibilities are to come up with a list of events that will take place during one week of school and all the logistics that go with that.

• Additionally, you must create a design for the Springfest T-shirts and decide what extra giveaways you are going to hand out to participants.

• Information packets must be designed and distributed with legal liability waivers or you will not have any students participating.

• You have a $5,000 budget, a staff that can range from one to 25 (usually around 12) depending on how many senators have been elected and about three months to do all of this (this is being generous).

In that time, most of your work involves coordination among university staff, Student Senate and the different companies from which you purchase materials.

Locations need to be reserved on campus for events, work schedules need to be made for the senators, events need to be scheduled at times when students are most likely to be out of class and off work, packets need to be distributed early enough for students to be able to get a team together, money cannot be spent without a bill being passed by Senate, contacts need to be contacted, sandwiches need to be made, etc.

It all comes down to a lot of little headaches, really.  Good timing, self-discipline, foresight and people skills are a must.  Luck helps, too.

Despite the effort involved, working on Springfest is a lot of fun.  Coming up with ideas for games can be really exciting, and I promise that you will never forget the first time you inflate a 10-foot beach ball.

Honestly, this is not the hardest job in the world, but it becomes difficult when you are doing all of this on top of coursework, a part-time job, regular SGA duties and any other life-related activities.

Be expected to spend eight to 10 hours a week as a Springfest chair and two to four hours for committee members.

Because of this, the first thing a Springfest chair learns to rely on is fellow senators.  Goals are not going to be accomplished without them.

Fortunately, this year’s Senate was amazing, and my fellow co-chair Heather Hartline and I would not have been able to do half as much as we did without them.

Also, Hartline chaired Springfest while rehearsing for and performing in “Suessical the Musical.”  That takes a very special kind of talent and discipline, so if you participated in Springfest this year you really should take a moment to thank her if you see her around campus.

Some other personal notes:

• Expect and be prepared to fail at some point on something… like mud jousting.  It is going to happen.

• No one can stay on top of everything that happens without help. Confide in your friends and teammates, and your trust will be rewarded.

• That $5,000 budget can disappear if you are not careful.  By the way, all of that money, along with the rest of Senate’s budget, comes from the student activity fees you pay Southeastern.  So, if you are not taking an interest in SGA perhaps you should start.

• Thank you to all the students who participated this year and your excellent sportsmanship.  You are why we do this.  Regardless of everything else, at the end of the day, knowing students are happy is worth any amount of work and stress we put ourselves through.

• A very special thank you to Faith Huddleson, Eddie Harbin and the Physical Plant, Grounds Keeping Staff, Dean of Students Camille Phelps, Campus Police, Luke Willman, Mrs. Pam from the Magnolia Grill for feeding me, President Larry Minks and his staff, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Robinson and of course Jannista Wood, all of whom continually contribute to the smooth operation of Springfest, Student Senate and the campus as a whole.

• Double special thanks to Tim Sneed and the Tim Sneed Committee, advocate of Sneed-like activities and all things Tim Sneed.

• Triple special thanks to Rance Cockrell, God of Rock‘n’Roll.  Rance be praised!

 

-Jerreck McWilliams

Letter to the editor: Disillusionment in students

I recently read an editorial in your paper that I found particularly disturbing and disheartening, titled: “No One Cares About Apathy on Campus.” Since I have arrived here on campus, nearly four years ago, I have heard different people speak about apathy. I hear this from students, faculty and staff, administrators, local, state and national officials, members of the Regents office and numerous other individuals on and off campus.

My response to each of these individuals is the same, “I don’t believe in apathy on our university campuses.”

The word “apathy” comes with an implication; the implication that the subject, the purveyor of apathy, does not care. I have never met a student, in fact I would venture to say that I have never met anyone, who just did not care.

I abhor the use of this term because it is thrown around in place of more critical and analytical thought. It is the scapegoat of people more concerned with “why” and less concerned with “how,” why people do not seem to listen and do not seem to care and how we can engage them in ways that are meaningful and constructive.

I do not believe that people do not care. I have never met one person who does not care about the world around them and the effect they have on it. So the question is then: Why do people seem not to care?

I would recommend that anyone interested in seriously considering this question replace the word “apathy” with the word “disillusionment.” Disillusion is defined as: “disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.” Imagine where we come from, and who we are.

Most of us are products of the public school system, a system that is designed to break the spirits of its students and to ensure that they do not question, do not exceed the capacity of the teachers or the facilities and, in fact, do not dream too high or too big. The traditional student comes from this environment, where they are not supposed to think and they are not supposed to care. What does college do? Without any prompting and very little introduction we demand that they do the exact opposite.

Every staffer, every professor and every organization wants everyone to care right now. This requirement is impossible. No one goes from 15 years of forced mediocrity to excellence and engagement in a month.

Couple this with a completely incongruent attitude towards the new student’s social standing (not quite adults yet no longer children) and you have a perfect recipe for people to give in and give up. Why try? Why care? Why give a damn when the world around them has already shown that it does not reciprocate? Why care when students have already been relegated to second-class citizenship?

So then what we should really be asking ourselves is: Who is ultimately responsible for the attitude on campus?

Is it the student who has all but given up, who is committed to getting a degree but wants nothing more to do with the university, the state or really anything beyond that which has a direct affect on his or her own world?

Is it the professor’s fault: overworked, underpaid, split between those students who truly want to learn and improve themselves and those students who are unprepared, unmotivated and truly unimaginative?

Or is it the administrator and staffers’ job: understaffed, under-budgeted, underappreciated and attempting desperately, valiantly, to engage a populace that has been all but ruined before they even arrive?

Or is it our responsibility, the students who are engaged, who care and who love the opportunities and the resources that they have been afforded both in their education and in their personal lives, but work multiple jobs, are beholden to everyone or are constantly accruing debt and are always at the disadvantage of time and means?

I have news that I expect will not make me very popular: it is everyone’s responsibility. Students, engage your fellow students! Make them understand that their success rides on the accomplishments they make now, that learning is not a temporary state of being but an ongoing, lifelong journey.

Introduce them to this campus and to the abundant resources it has to propel them onward and upward. Share the burden and the reward of leadership and civic engagement. Demand that they contribute; as people who enjoy the spoils they must also give their parts. Things will fail, you will be tested and, at times as we all must, you will come up short, but you can leave this place much better than you found it if you make the most of what you have.

Administrators and staffers, you are here for the student, that is why this university exists. Do not forget it. There are 4,800 students who go to school here and around 500 make it their home. Most of them waste their time and energy doing nothing. You sit on the biggest free labor pool in the entire southeastern part of this state!

However, that being said, they need to be engaged, and they need to be inspired. They do not need to be ordered around, but treated like adults, on equal footing and given a heavy say in what is done, where and for whom. This is how you will engage these men and women, by assuming that they can contribute and giving them that opportunity.

Professors: expect only the best. Too often I see professors accepting excuses and equivocations. I do it too. We need to stop. To perpetuate the attitude that the student is here only for the degree will continue the further degradation of our system of higher education. Students are here for degrees, but they are also here to be educated, contributing members of our society. There is so much more that they need to know than what their major can offer them.

Reading and writing are not niceties to be used only in the classroom but to contribute to a broader understanding of the world around us. Skills such as these and their appropriate application and use can mean the difference between a job and a career.

Finally, to the student newspaper, if there is an attitude in which disillusion festers, it is one of ignorance and darkness. It is not that I do not appreciate reviews of movies, of albums and stunning social commentary on current television shows. It is not that I am unappreciative of the articles run about myself and the Student Government because I feel that there is a genuine necessity for the student body to be informed about our actions.

What I am most disturbed by is the serious lack of stories related to the campus community, its concerns, challenges and opportunities. There are serious problems on our campus, but nothing that cannot be resolved. The best and fastest way to resolve issues is to bring them to the forefront of public opinion.

Making the students aware of what is happening on this campus is both your mission and one of the fundamental necessities for effective civic engagement. Real investigative reporting will not only bring people a greater understanding of their campus, but will give resources and input for those students with the ability to effect change and all the more support they need to do so.

Students need to be engaged. Everyone on this campus needs to take the responsibility of accomplishing this goal, students, faculty, staff, administration, and, especially, the student’s bastion of free, independent speech and information: the newspaper.

It is only as a cohesive community that we can hope to accomplish anything and it is only by engaging our biggest constituency, our students, that we can hope to have the power necessary to make the impact we hope to see.

– Matthew Heggy

SGA President

Brain Storm needed more planning

The word “brainstorm” has been thrown around the ACT department quite a bit in the past week, though it feels like we’re only just learning exactly what this mystical thing is meant to be. The SE Website has been helpful in this regard; that lightning-adorned Brain Storm banner is the first notable bit of advertising we’ve seen, aside from the posters that have been put up. But when have students around here ever looked at posters?

Apparently, Brain Storm is a “Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Week” put on by the School of Arts and Sciences, or at least that is what it says on the official schedule of events.

Also, it started on Monday, according to said schedule.

Brain Storm definitely has a great deal of potential and the events sound as though they held interest for both students and faculty. However, there appears to have been a fatal flaw in the execution of this event.

Where on earth was the publicity? A full week of theatre performances, musical performances, faculty lectures and student presentations sounds like a big deal. In fact, it sounds like a very big deal. Why wasn’t it treated like one?

Perhaps it was more of a conceptual thing that was suddenly pushed into becoming reality once someone realized that the end of the semester was nearing.

Anything involving “research” is generally, by nature, a well-planned, meticulous happening with plenty of time allotted for its completion. The sudden appearance of an event does not exactly facilitate this.

There is no time in the semester when throwing something together at the last minute and expecting it to be decent is a good idea; just ask any student who has had to write that critical essay right before the deadline. However, choosing to do this near the end of the semester makes the whole thing exponentially worse.

Right now, students are alternately panicking and trying to cram pertinent bits of knowledge into their brains. Professors are planning tests and metaphorically trying to stay afloat in the veritable floods of grading they have to get done.

It’s just not a good time for anything, let alone a last-minute celebration of the arts and sciences.

The students and faculty here at Southeastern have a lot of fantastic ideas and they really should have an opportunity to showcase them, but this opportunity needs careful planning and ample time to execute those ideas.

Brain Storm would likely have been better served by a semester-long campaign of advertising and exposition so that the people of SE could be familiar with its purpose and have a chance to contribute.

On that note, can we please ask that our existence at the paper be validated? Telling students about important events on campus is why we’re here, but without cooperation, all we can do is tell people what happened after the fact. While writing about it afterward is great, we love the opportunity to generate publicity for noteworthy events so that SE students can actually experience them firsthand.

A celebration of the creative activities that happen at SE is something that needs to be on the academic calendar and publicized so that everyone here knows what is going on. A banner on the SE homepage is a great step, but there really could have been a lot more done.

Making everyone more aware of Brain Storm early on would have allowed the participants to be more prepared and to put out higher quality projects (not that everyone here isn’t doing his or her very best already).

In conclusion, this is a great idea, but it feels as though it was poorly executed. This department has a lot to offer, and this week should have been something everyone was looking forward to rather than something only invoking curiosity after the fact.

– Brandi Bunch, Managing Editor

 

Assistant theatre professor works magic in costuming

by Tammy Neely Bates, Staff writer

Hardgrove’s work in costume design involves getting to work with the wigs that help bring the various Theatre at SE performances to life on stage.

 

Staff Photo by Tammy Neely Bates

 

“It never occurred to me that I could have a career in theatre,” said Kathleen Hardgrove, assistant professor of theatre.

“I grew up in a small town and didn’t know anyone in theatre”, said Hardgrove.

Hardgrove comes from the small town of Wewoka where she graduated high school and went on to attend college at Northeastern Oklahoma and later transferred to Southeastern, at the age of 21, where she obtained a major in theatre and minors in communication and literature, said Hardgrove.

“It wasn’t until I transferred to Southeastern that I realized I could have a career in theatre”, said Hardgrove. “If you want a career in theatre, Southeastern is the best place to learn how.”

She worked seven summers with the Oklahoman Shakespearean Festival as an actor under the direction of Molly Risso , the founder of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival.

“Molly Risso was my mentor at Southeastern. She taught me life skills,” said Hargrove. As an undergraduate, she also taught children’s theatre in private schools, said Hardgrove

Hardgrove obtained a Masters in fine arts from LSU and then she taught and acted in New York, Connecticut and Los Angeles.

Hardgrove came back to Southeastern in 2007 to teach theatre appreciation and interpersonal communication and to be the theatre costume designer, said Hardgrove.

“I had such good training at Southeastern”, said Hardgrove. “I came back to teach because I agreed with their teaching philosophy. The position is an odd mixture but it fits me perfectly”, said Hardgrove.

“My responsibility is to design the costumes, but some students like to design too”, said Hardgrove. “All lights and sounds are done by students”, said Hardgrove.

Aside from being the costume designer, she also teaches some theatre classes and interpersonal communication, said Hardgrove.

“I get such a kick out of teaching Interpersonal Communication, I learn something new each semester and I love teaching Theatre Appreciation.” said Hardgrove.

“I came back here to encourage students to follow their dreams,” said Hardgrove.

Hardgrove said students learn work ethic and she reminds students to be fearless and know that no matter where their careers take them; there are always alumni a phone call away.

Hardgrove said some alumni come back from New York to tell the theatre majors what life is like in the “Big City”.

Elena Lewis, a fourth year theatre major, said, “I love working for Kathleen. She never fails to capture the character she is costuming.”

Lewis works in the costume shop with Hardgrove and performs in some plays.

“She is funny and my job functions include finding her glasses. She has been my mentor and helps those to find their abilities and dreams. She is amazing”, said Lewis.

Domanick Hubbard, a first year theatre major, said, “She was kind of intimidating at first but became more of a mother figure. She works really hard to get us ready for the future.  My favorite part is she lets us listen to music while we work.”

Hubbard said, “She really cares about the people she works with.”

 

 

OSGA approves legislation

by Jerreck McWilliams, Contributing writer

Four pieces of legislation were passed by the OSGA on Apr. 9.

The Oklahoma Student Government Association (OSGA) is the state wide legislative body and representative of higher education students in Oklahoma.  Legislation heard during the Fall and Spring Congresses of OSGA is written by students and sent to the Oklahoma State Congress upon passage.

Among the four pieces of legislation passed during Spring Congress this year were:

A resolution concerning the support of the 2011-2012 higher education budget by the RUSO board.

A resolution concerning the support of Violence awareness programs on Oklahoma campuses.

A resolution concerning the collection of dues by members of OSGA.

As is common among all political gatherings, these issues were met with debate as students from across the state voiced their opinions.

It should be noted that Southeastern had the largest delegation this Spring with 16 members in attendance.

It should also be noted that SOSU now has three members on the OSGA Board of Directors.

Senator Garret Shoemake was elected the Research Director, Senator Jerreck McWilliams was elected to the post of Publicity Director, and Senator Matthew Sitton was elected to the position of Vice President for the 2011-2012 congress.

SOSU SGA President Matthew Heggy said, “Congrats to everyone who got elected to positions on the Board of Directors I know that you will all make me proud. I think that OSGA is going in a great direction with you all at the helm.”

 

SGA prepares for new president for next year

by Jerreck McWilliams, Contributing writer

Approved by the Tim Sneed Committee, advocate of Sneed-like activities and all things Tim Sneed, in accordance with the declarations established by such.

 

Ten pages of minutes were written during the Student Senate meeting Thursday, April 14, an unusually high number for what is often a thirty to fifty minute meeting.

Springfest, of course, constituted the majority of the content of those minutes.

Apr. 14’s meeting Senate meeting was the first gathering of all the senators since Springfest had ended a week earlier.

During the meeting, senators discussed what they did or did not like about this year’s Springfest and in what ways they could improve next year.

One concern noted by a few senators was that there were too many events that were too spread out, which left them with little time to set-up in between games.

“I would suggest that we have fewer events next year. We had so many this year and with the limited participation, we didn’t have enough people to help them. A lot of people were complaining about the stress on their bodies pertaining to athleticism,” said Senator Ross Thomas.

While this discussion ran for almost half the meeting, it was by no means the only topic.

Two resolutions were heard by the body, Res 35 concerning the spending cap for senate elections, and Res 36 allowing elections for the Fall 2011/Spring 2012 session to begin.

Resolution 35, being an amendment to the Student Senate Bylaws, was not able to be voted on during the meeting due to the requirement for amendments to be heard one week prior to voting.

This provision is to ensure that each voting member has had time to consider the effects of the amendment before having to make a decision.

Resolution 36, on the other hand, was passed unanimously.

Unfortunately for Student Senate and Southeastern in general, SGA President Matthew Heggy will be graduating this spring.

His peers wanted to express their respect and adoration for their friend and leader, and wish him well in his life’s pursuits.

Matt Heggy also wanted to express that, “Although I’m very sad that I won’t be with you all next semester I expect to hear great things, and I will be with you through the glory and the spirit of Tim Sneed, may he live forever.”

 

Curriculum meet attracts students

by Laura Tomah, Contributing writer

Southeastern hosted the 98th annual Curriculum Contest March 31, with 2,500 high school students from 70 high schools participating. There were 40 contests with trophies and medals awarded to the best students and schools present at the event.

The subject matter included such things as mathematics, science, English, foreign language, computers and journalism. Student winners were selected from four divisions.

The curriculum contest proves to be a highly efficient recruitment tool for Southeastern as “10 to 25 percent of freshman enrollment comes from this one event,” according to Dr. James Britton.

“Many of these students enroll the day of the event,” added Britton.

High school students also benefit from the contest because it influences the schools competitively since “they are going to try to upgrade those courses they’re in so they can win them,” said Britton.

“I think the students enjoy it because there are lots of activities outside they can participate in; what high school student doesn’t like to get away from school for a day and have fun?”  stated Britton.

Britton also said the contest wouldn’t have been possible without Mike Morris from the computer science department, Rhonda Richards assisting with data processing and Robert Nordmark helping with the display and data entry.

He added that Liz McCraw, the dean of enrollment management, helped put the event together by getting together rooms, entertainment and everything else in-between.

 

Students visit OCMA conference

From Staff Reports

(Left to right) Student writers Jerreck McWilliams, Chrissy Dill, Samantha Perera, Alisha Loyd and Lornna Bates in front of Eskimo Joe’s, home of the bacon cheese fries.

 

Five student staff members of The Southeastern newspaper and The Savage Storm yeardisc attended the 2011 Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association Conference at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater on March 31.

The conference featured educational sessions with lectures from professors, writers, editors and producers to recognize that students are involved in not only the production of newspapers and yearbooks but also broadcast stations, websites and magazines.  The conference was immediately followed by an awards luncheon.

The student attendees included Yearbook Editor Alisha Loyd, News Editor Lornna Bates, Staff Writers Chrissy Dill and Samantha Perera and Contributing Writer Jerreck McWilliams.

Individual Awards were awarded to Bates, Second Place in News Writing, and Loyd, Third Place in News Photography.

The Southeastern newspaper, led by Managing Editor Brandi Bunch, received an Award of Merit in the category of Overall Newspaper and Honorable Mention in Interior Page Design.

The Savage Storm yeardisc, placed in every category offered in the yearbook competition, including an Award of Merit in the competition for Theme, Content and Coverage and Photography.  The Savage Storm yeardisc also achieved Honorable Mention in Layout & Design and Overall Yearbook categories.

Bates was also elected to the OCMA Student Advisory Board, consisting of two student representatives from four-year colleges, two from two-year colleges and an at-large faculty representative.  Advisory Board members serve for one year and are intermediary representatives of OCMA and the Oklahoma collegiate media.

“I have been to one last year, and I have to say that I was not impressed” says Loyd.  “It lacked the informational guidance that I needed.  I have to say, last year was a lot better.”

“I thought that it could have been organized a bit better,” said Perera.  I did enjoy some of the lectures though and found them very informative.”

“Since this was my first time to attend, I thought the conference was a good experience and an impressive concept,” said Bates. “I think Alisha and I were happy to receive recognition as well. While attending the student advisory board nominations meeting, conference creator Joey Senat did mention that this was his initial go at the conference and was going to be a learning process for all involved.”

Dr. Shannon McCraw, associate professor of Art, Communication and Theatre attended the conference as the sponsor for the Southeastern student delegates.

McCraw also introduced the students to bacon cheese fries at the original Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater.

“The bacon and cheese fries were delicious and I would like to thank Dr. McCraw for treating us,” said Loyd.

 

High-profile speakers bring FATE to Southeastern

by Sergio Lopez, Contributing writer

Southeastern hosted a presentation and panel discussion on substance abuse and addiction on Wednesday, April 6.  FATE (fighting addiction through education) founder Reggie Whitten and five time pro-bowler Roy Williams were on campus to educate students about substance abuse.

“Most people don’t know how dangerous this stuff is.” said Whitten.

According to FATE’s brouchure, FATE is an Oklahoma non-profit organization with a goal to educate the public about dangerous substances and addiction. Its direct focus is to educate mostly young people to significantly reduce the incidence of substance abuse in the state.

FATE was created in memory of Whitten’s son Brandon who died at age 25 from a motorcycle accident caused by substance abuse. Whitten said, “I think the worst problem in this country has is drug and alcohol addiction.”

There were many students in attendance. Halston Harris, a freshman and offensive linemen, said “It’s shocking that an NFL star would come to Durant and talk to us.” Not only were students there to see Williams but some expressed that the event provided was valuable information.

“Some of my friends in high school didn’t graduate because of drugs and addiction. This information could have helped them out,” said Josh Higgins, sophomore and offensive lineman.

Many faculty members were in attendance as well, President Larry Minks and Regent John Massey were there to welcome the university’s guests.

The event took place in Bloomer Sullivan Arena at 7 p.m. The panel discussion guests included: Jim Priest (executive director of FATE), Emily Redman (District Attorney, Oklahoma District 19), Darrell Weaver (director, Oklahoma state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control), and Holli Witherington (executive director of Brandon Whitten Institute for Addiction and Recovery at East Central University).

Roy Williams is a safety for the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams talked on the issue of two paths. He saw a lot of opportunities’ to “choose the wrong path” through his life, and admitted that he did not know how dangerous substances can potentially be. He also touched on the topic of experimenting.

“Some people fall victim to experimentation and slip through the cracks” said Williams.

In an interview before the discussion Williams said, “It is never too late to fight this, even when in college” and “if we only reach one person then we did our job.”

“We are not here to tell you how to live your life” said Whitten. The central focus to the whole program was education.

According to a pamphlet handed out at the event, the direct cost of substance abuse in Oklahoma in 2005 was 1.4 billion dollars according to the Governor’s and Attorney General’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence.

There was a lot of information relating to direct economic impact of substance abuse in our area.

Following this information was the panel discussion and a question and answer section that was filled with facts and misconceptions about substance abuse and treatment. Whitten and Williams kept reiterating that they were not here to talk down to people. Whitten went on to say “If I were so smart I would not have buried my son.”

Whitten travels around the state with FATE speaking about the dangers of substance abuse by telling the story of his sons untimely death at the age of 25.

“We can’t control everything our children do, but we can educate them,” said Whitten. Whitten plans to continue doing this he said “it was his fate” to do so. Whitten wants to live by example and “motivate and inspire other people to do something.” Whitten said “ I hope that those who see what we’re doing will catch the vision and passion.”

The Website for FATE can be found at changeyourfate.org and has a variety of information on coping with addiction and substance abuse, as well as ways to relate to someone suffering from these issues.

The site also has links to local and state specific organizations with information on how you can help.

Durant men agree to crossdress for a good cause

by Samantha Perera, Staff writer

 

The Kick Up Your Heels event helped local men understand the agony that is a pair of high-heels while also raising awareness of an important issue.

Staff photo by Alisha Loyd

Local men dressed up in high, red heels gathered at the Durant Market Square to educate the community on taking a stand against sexual violence and assault on Saturday, April 9.

The event was organized by the Crisis Control Center of Durant, said Anna Marcy, an advocate for the CCC. There were two purposes for the event, she added.

The CCC needed a fundraiser event, and it was also a good time to raise community awareness on an important and often overlooked crime, said Marcy. She also said that, as the saying goes, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

The event was to bring a community together to stand against sexual violence and show the victims and survivors of this crime that the community is not going to stand for it anymore, said Marcy.

“We chose this month, as did many other centers in Oklahoma, because it is Sexual Assualt Awareness Month,” said Marcy.  She went on to say that the event was supported by The Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

This was the first time such an event had been organized in Durant. “We borrowed the idea from the international walk called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” said Marcy. It is an international event that is trademarked, and using the logo for that organization requires a fee, she said.

The Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault put forward the idea that each community could organize its own event and call it Kick Up Your Heels, rather than Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, according to Marcy.

Marcy also stated that other communities in Oklahoma will also be hosting their Sexual Assault Awareness Month walks, such as Idabel, Ponca City, Oklahoma City and many others.

The event began with a few words from Marcy and several other officials. Dustin Roberts, state representative for Oklahoma, attended the event. Roberts said he thought this event was outstanding and, “if we can stop two or three people from committing domestic violence it’s well worth the effort.”

Roberts wore size 12 red heels throughout the entire event.

There were several individuals representing law enforcement in high heels, said Marcy. Officers from Calera, Colbert and the Choctaw Nation Law Enforcement were present. Marcy also said that there were several agencies represented who were not in high heels, such as Carrie Wyrick from Durant, Trooper Keeling from the Highway Patrol and T.J. White from Calera.

Calera Chief of Police Don Hyde gave a shout out to the members of law enforcement represented at the event and thanked Roberts for “coming up and standing up for what’s right.” Hyde went on to say that it takes people who want to listen to be educated on these types of problems.

The CCC had placed teal ribbons in the market square, 24 big ribbons and 36 smaller ribbons. “The 24 big ribbons represent the 24 reported sexual assaults in Bryan County in 2009,” said Marcy.

According to statistics, said Marcy, only 40 percent of assaults are reported to the police, so “for the 24 that were reported there are 36 victims of sexual assault that did not seek help.” The CCC had placed the 36 little ribbons to represent those unreported cases, said Marcy.

Unfortunately, there were not many SE students present at the event, said Marcy. “I would have loved to have some SE spirit there and have the opportunity to share the message of stomping out sexual violence with them,” said Marcy.  “I always enjoy the opportunity to share information about sexual assault on campus to those who are students or who work with students.”

Three SE students were part of the team at the CCC that helped in the organization of this event. Kayli Summers, Raelynn Beaty and Amy Davis are currently interning at the crisis control center as part of their major in psychology.

“Domestic violence seems to be around almost everywhere,” said Davis, “I was delighted to have helped work on an event that promotes awareness about sensitive issues.”

This was the first annual Kick Up Your Heels event in Durant, said Marcy, and though not many Durant law enforcement officials were present, she said, “I can almost guarantee you, however, that next year’s event will have a team representation from the Durant P.D. and fire department.”

“We love our local law enforcement and fire fighters and understand that they are asked to do all manner of public events and fundraisers,” said Marcy. “We are very blessed as a community that our public servants help in as many ways as they do.”