Statistics say that one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college. Last Saturday’s 5k in Ithaca aims to make that statistic zero, said Sophia Tulp, an Ithaca College junior of the The New Agenda Foundation.
Cornell and IC students, as well as faculty and community members, raced through the Cornell Botanic Gardens Saturday afternoon at the annual SToPP 5K, a fundraising event to raise sexual assault awareness on college campuses.
SToPP stands for Stop, Think and Protect your Peers — “an acronym for active bystander intervention,” Tulp said.
Explaining the role of active bystanders, Tulp added “we have a human responsibility to look out for one another. When I see someone at a bar in a situation of possible non-consent, I would intervene.”
With this event, Cornell, IC and The New Agenda Foundation teamed up to shine a light on the often unrecognized culture of non-consent in student relationships.
As a small community comprised of two large campuses, Ithaca is a “unique environment” for these events, said Olivia Forker, an IC sophomore managing the event.
Saturday’s event marked the third edition of the annual run. The first year attracted just 20 participants, the second year, 50, and this year earned 70 enrollments as of Friday afternoon. Tulp expected a final turnout of around 100 students.
“We hoped to increase involvement each year but the turnout is definitely exceeding our expectations,” Tulp told the Sun.
In addition to the $10 donation fee per participant, independent fundraising teams already raised over $350 through online coordination efforts.
All donations go toward creating curriculum and programming materials for Title IX offices nationwide. Last year’s proceeds helped fund an educational video called Grey Matters.
The event attracted a range of runners and walkers, students and faculty. Community liaison Lara Hamburger of Ithaca’s Advocacy Center, also attended to share insight into Ithaca’s local resources.
Members from the Cornell community joined their Ithaca peers at this event. Specifically, AKPsi, a Cornell pre-professional fraternity, members attended as a group.
Member Kelly Chan ’19 said that her group’s pre-professional focus prompted them to spread awareness particularly as they enter the workforce and begin to lead their own businesses, she said.
Through the run, Ithacans and Cornellians were able to both enjoy the gardens and to raise awareness for the SToPP cause.
Though sexual assault advocacy is an ongoing process, Saturday’s 5k represents many more steps in the right direction.
“We all have a human responsibility to care about the people around us,” Tulp said. “Too often we only care about ourselves. It’s really important to get the message out.”