In support of victims and survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence, hundreds of volunteers at Alfred State College recently helped fill 2,500 comfort bags as part of the SUNY’s Got Your Back (SGYB) effort.
Launched in April 2016, SUNY’s Got Your Back “provides the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members from across the state to create comfort kits for victims and survivors of violence, and to learn methods of better preventing and responding to violence, as together we work to build a New York where these bags are no longer needed,” according to the web page about the effort on the SUNY website.
Taking place on Halloween, Alfred State’s SUNY’s Got Your Back event featured more than 320 volunteers, including student athletes from several sports teams, members of Greek Life, the Esports team, employees, and members of more than 35 student clubs and organizations. Volunteers ending up filling 2,500 comfort bags with towels, toiletries, pens, paper, combs, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to be delivered to area shelters, hospitals, and rape crisis centers.
Nikkie Herman, chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator at Alfred State, said she was overwhelmed with the support that the campus displayed on a very rainy Halloween day.
“The SGYB staff said that they had yet to do 2,500 bags anywhere this semester,” Herman said. “It is remarkable for a school our size that we filled so many and so quickly, proving again that Alfred State College cares deeply about serving the community in which we live. It took all of the volunteers to make this event a success. Every single person played a huge role in making this event a success. Local providers ACCORD and CCA were able to take boxes back to their facilities that day!”
Kathlyn Ramey, prevention education and outreach coordinator for Cattaraugus Community Action, said, “It was an honor to be included in the amazing turnout of support at Alfred State's SUNY's Got Your Back event. When communities come together to support individuals who have been the victim of violence, it not only raises awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence issues, but is also a powerful demonstration of compassion, and the Alfred State community showed that during this event.”
Samantha Bowers, a human services management major from Fulton, said, “Since I came to campus three years ago now, I have been involved in the Center for Equity and Inclusion and the Title IX Office. My involvement there mainly revolves around programming and hosting events and many of my events went to raising money for the SUNY’s Got Your Back mission. To me, this SUNY-wide event is something so huge and touches my heart and so many others. We are able to provide comfort to people who are in extreme need of a friendly reminder to ‘stay strong.’ These comfort bags mean so much to the people that receive them, and Alfred State is amazing for showing up and supporting this amazing cause!”