Cassie Weber. Katie Hinda speaks to a crowd of roughly 500 people Thursday evening at the Garden Theater about her
UNC's Annual Take Back the Night rally was a success, even with a slight drizzle and chill in the air Thursday night at the Garden Theater.
Approximately 500 University of Northern Colorado students, staff, alumni and community members rallied to kick off a night that promoted advocacy against hate and violence against people.
Advocates from campus support centers and the UNC counseling center were in the crowd and had tables nearby with information for students.
"This is my second year going to this event, and it is always an eye-opening experience," said Maddie Miller, a junior nursing major. "It is crazy to think that those statistics on rape and sexual abuse are true. It just made me realize that it could happen to anyone and that we need to be aware of our surroundings."
Officer Larry Raimer, one of UNC's training and crime prevention specialists, opened the night with his "Operation: Stay Safe" lecture that reminded students of how to stay safe while on campus.
He spoke to students about the 27 emergency call boxes that are available for students that need emergency help while on campus, as well as asking students to put the UNC Police Department telephone number - (970) 351-2245 - in their phones for quick access.
Katrina Rodriguez from Higher Affairs and Student Affairs Leadership, and a member of the Bias Prevention Team at UNC, made a speech as well on how the university treats violence and bigotry on campus.
Keynote speaker Katie Hnida made a powerful and inspiring speech on her experiences regarding harassment and abuse while playing on the football team at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her beaming personality and influential speaking skills topped off the night and geared people up for the march.
"This was my first time attending Take Back the Night, and I thought the speaker was extremely moving and made me think about all of the abuse women endure without telling anyone," said Bailey Fowler, a freshman English major. "I wish violence wasn't an issue, and I'm glad UNC is raising awareness."
Several select UNC students had a chance at contributing to the rally on stage by sharing statistics on abuse, rape and other offenses that plague society. After the rally, committee members handed out chant sheets and purple glow sticks to participants before the march, which started at the Garden Theater, traveled through central campus, weaved through west campus and ended at the University Center with an Open Mic Night.
"This is my second year attending this event as well, and it really puts things into perspective and makes you more aware of an issue that you don't think is as prominent as it really is," said Jenny Stigall, a sophomore journalism major. "It often goes unrecognized and it is nice to know (awareness) is promoted in the school and our community."