The community of safety and inclusion that Welcome Week introduced leaves this new freshman feeling happy with her decision to come to CNU.
When Welcome Week began and the campus of Christopher Newport University was overrun by wide-eyed freshmen (myself among them), we found ourselves extremely busy attempting to adjust to our new roommates and our confusing schedules, all while running all over our beautiful new campus between various mandatory sessions throughout the week.
Several of these introduced the topic of sexual assault and educated the class of 2021 on CNU’s mission of eliminating it once and for all.
Sexual violence is first addressed before freshman even set foot on campus; we are required to complete Haven, an online program with multiple modules uploaded throughout the year.
It introduces bystander intervention through possible real-life scenarios and provides shocking statistics about sexual misconduct in college.
Actors from True to Life Training visited CNU early in the week to present a stirring performance in several vignettes, each dealing with a different troubling topic that college students face.
Among these were alcoholism, domestic abuse, mental illness and sexual assault. I spoke to other freshmen in my hall about it and we all reacted emotionally to the program.
We all believed the subject matters needed to be brought into the light.
On Thursday evening during Welcome Week, First Lady Rosemary Trible gave a moving presentation that included the screening of her Emmy-winning documentary titled for her non-profit, Fear2Freedom.
The goals of Mrs. Trible’s organization are to educate the public about sexual violence prevention and to bring joy, hope and healing to survivors.
After the film, she introduced a panel which included CNU’s Title IX director, Michelle Moody, who explained the school’s policies on sexual misconduct as well as gender discrimination to the freshmen.
I learned from the Fear2Freedom presentation and multiple outside sources that on average, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college.
As a female undergraduate student, I am one of the main demographics at risk.
I appreciate that my university truly cares about this devastating problem enough to require incoming students to attend seminars and complete online programs on prevention, education and bystander intervention.
This time last year, when I began to peruse an endless list of universities and consider my options after high school graduation, I didn’t expect to choose CNU.
But the first time I embarked on a tour of my future campus, I was met with an overwhelming sense of intentional kindness and genuine regard for others and their well-being.
That feeling was ultimately what made me decide to enroll.
I believe the air of compassion that I felt extends to all facets of Christopher Newport University.
I feel safe, happy and proud knowing that I am part of a campus community that is committed to eradicating sexual assault on college campuses and in our world.
by Anna Dorl