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Empowering Survivors and Combatting Sexual Violence in Greek Life: NU Sophomores Pioneer Survivor Advocacy

After participating in an event organized by Communication sophomore Rose Hunskor on the connection between Greek life and sexual violence, Medill sophomore Shravya Pant expressed her motivation to support the cause. This led to the collaboration of the two sorority members, resulting in the establishment of Survivor Advocacy through Greek Engagement (SAGE).

Hunskor shared her inspiration for initiating this movement, stating, “I was driven by observations within our Greek community. I strongly believed that a shift in culture was necessary to address the longstanding acceptance of rape culture.”

SAGE is a proactive organization dedicated to advocating against sexual violence within Greek life while also offering preventative resources. The club conducted its inaugural meeting in the Fall Quarter.

Throughout the previous summer, Hunskor from Delta Gamma and Pant from Delta Delta Delta meticulously planned and deliberated on their new venture. They engaged with representatives from various Greek chapters, organizations, and the Center for Awareness, Response, and Education.

Reflecting on the first meeting, Pant remarked, “It was incredibly enlightening as we had members from both fraternities and sororities sharing ideas and concerns that Rose and I hadn’t previously considered.”

The primary objective of the group is to empower survivors, promote allyship and a culture of consent, and advocate for a violence-free experience within Greek life.

SAGE endeavors to facilitate dialogues on sexual violence within Greek organizations and develop discussion materials for Sorority and Fraternity leaders to address the issue during chapter meetings.

Hunskor emphasized the importance of creating safe spaces for open conversations where individuals can seek clarity and guidance on how to respond in challenging situations. This approach equips them with the necessary tools to support survivors effectively.

Avery Franks, a Weinberg sophomore and President of Alpha Phi, is also a member of SAGE. She emphasized the significance of engaging in discussions on sexual assault, listening to members’ experiences, and learning to foster a safer community environment.

The organization’s future objectives include standardizing discussions on sexual violence within Greek organizations and expanding its membership base.

Pant highlighted the group’s focus on engaging more male members within Greek life, aiming to broaden the conversation beyond just women’s perspectives. Efforts are underway to encourage male participation and contributions within SAGE.

The founders intentionally designed the group to be low-commitment, ensuring that members do not feel obligated to attend every meeting.

Pant emphasized the value of Greek life experiences in shaping one’s college journey, fostering friendships, and creating enjoyable social environments. However, she acknowledged the existing flaws within the system and expressed hope that through their initiatives, a greater understanding of these issues and a reduction in incidents of violence can be achieved.