Alfred State student Riko Hayano, an interdisciplinary studies major from Osaka, Japan, recently led a campaign to shed some light on the subject of “catcalling” women and to advocate for change and respect.
According to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Spencer Peavey, the campaign involved writing anti-catcalling slogans in chalk on the ground in heavy-traffic areas on campus, hoping it would create a dialogue amongst students and call attention to this type of toxic and unacceptable behavior. The campaign is part of Alfred State’s Best Foot Forward (BFF) initiative that aims to promote civil, empathetic, and respectful communication.
“It was a great campaign that created further conversation,” Peavey said. “Student initiatives such as Riko’s are exceptional for Student Affairs to support. They are created with significant energy from students who have been affected and have become motivated to take a stand. We support their actions and will continue to advocate on their behalf.”
Hayano, who is also a Newman Civic Fellow, a change agent for the Unity Center, and a head residence assistant for MacKenzie East, said, while writing out the messages in chalk, many students came up to her to chat about what she was doing.
“The fact that we got attention from students we would’ve never had a chance to talk to was powerful, and I felt empowered by knowing people cared,” Hayano said.
Hayano noted that several other students were involved in the campaign, including Samuel Lieber, Jasmine Larocca, Erin Mendez, Alexis Carrington, Zachary Bielecki, Cailin Gordon, Michael Brantley, Lindsie Cook, Kathleen Norton, Brianna Swartz, and Kyara Wilson.
Carrington, an interdisciplinary studies major from New York City, said, "I am glad that the Best Foot Forward campaign that addresses catcalling gives a voice to those who needed theirs to be heard."