On November 19 around 7 p.m, students took a break from their academic studies to gather in the lecture hall located in Hillwood Commons for a special campaign against bullying. Like my roommate, the first thought that probably popped into your mind was, why was this program being held on a college campus, after all isn’t bullying a high school thing? Surprisingly, while bullying has always been seen as a right of passage for young children into teens and teens into adulthood, over the years bullying has turned into in an epidemic leading to many suicidal incidents among college students. Before the night began, I was able to catch up with Samantha Vega, a senior english lit major here at Post and one of the lead coordinators for the event. When asked what her expectations were for the campaign she said “leaving lecture hall, I want everyone to have a sense of unity in a smaller scale and actually bring it out to other people.”
The night was interestingly informative. After a brief background on bullying, several counselors took the stage introducing themselves and the many forms of bullying. I haven’t been bullied for a while but when I was bullied, it was usually by some kid, who was probably older than me or bigger than me, picking on my threads and calling me outside of my name. However today because of advanced technology, cyber bullying has become pretty popular. Now anyone can sit behind their computer screen and bash someone through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and many more. Nonetheless, the counselors explained that bullying takes place not just in school and over the internet but it is commonly explored in organizations such as sport teams, fraternities and sororities, through hazing, in living communities such as dorming on campus, and even in the workplace.
After the introduction the program shifted from the audience listening to actually participating. Eyes glanced around as everyone anxiously waited for directions in the fishbowl. The activity consisted of everyone forming a giant circle. A few of the coordinators stood in the circle asking a series of questions. Whenever the question related to an individual, one would step forward in the circle. Cliche much? Freshmen biology major, Luchena Belizaire thought so; while she found the program to be good overall she had opposite views on the activity chosen saying “the game we played was so cliche, I know everyone in the room had played it at least once.” Although Belizaire may have been right about everyone being familiar with this activity, students were reluctant to play at first, shyly edging their foot inside. As they moved into the circle, eyes glanced around, as it was allowed, to see who else would be stepping in. But by the by the last question, the cliched activity had served its purpose allowing students to see that they were not alone. Some of the questions included being bullied for race, religion, style, and most shocking; political party.
The last segment of the program which was my favorite consisted of a few members from the poetry club S.N.A.P.P.S. The readers read two poems each: one written by themselves and the other written by a famous poet. The lecture hall grew silent as poetic words fluttered from the lips of the readers and unto the ears of the audience. I personally took a delight in Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman because she is one of my favorite poets of all time. Without a doubt each poem allowed the audience to experience what it would be like to be in another person’s shoe.
The campaign lasted about an hour and a half. To me, my hour and half was well spent. While it was not meant to stop bullying overnight, the intention of the campaign according to Vega, was to give an insight into the epidemic and develop a sense of unity. Even though it seems as we’re are too small to make a difference, saying hello or even giving a smile can help someone who may be in need. I hope to see more opportunities like this on campus where we can be encouraged to be the solution and put an end to these problems.