Halloween is the perfect opportunity to have an event where students are able to socialize and get involved in their local community. In light of this, IUPUI’s Health and Wellness Promotion teamed up with the Prevention Peer Education Program (PPEP) to put on an “Ooky Spooky Halloween Ball,”on Oct. 26, which collected donations for The Julian Center.
“We knew we wanted to do an event together. We knew we wanted it to be a fun event. Because prevention and interpersonal violence prevention can be a really heavy topic, but we also want to show that there's some room for having open conversations about this and not having to tiptoe around it. That it doesn't have to be something that's really heavy and uncomfortable,” Anna Comer (she/her), graduate student employee for the Health and Wellness Promotion said.
This is the first time this event has been held at IUPUI, and according to Comer, the idea for the event really started with Priscah Norwood, the team lead for PPEP.
“Priscah is the one who sort of came up with this idea. And the PPEP team was super interested when we first had this brainstorming session, in doing some kind of fundraising or collection for a domestic violence shelter/organization,” Comer said.
With the idea of having a Halloween ball in mind, they collaborated to determine where both organizations overlapped to get the most out of the event, ultimately settling on resource accessibility for students.
“We decided that where we overlap is sort of focusing on connecting students to resources,” Comer said. “We decided we were going to have this Halloween ball as our venue to give students some resources, and we really wanted to do some sort of fundraising aspect with that, which is why we're collecting items from The Julian Center wish list as donations.”
To Comer, choosing The Julian Center was an easy and accessible choice for an organization to collect donations for. Through the Health and Wellness Promotion, professors can request presentations on “Healthy Relationships” for their classes, and The Julian Center is one of the resources referred to students.
“I already had a connection there personally, so I decided it would probably be best to do The Julian Center. We also really liked them because they were a shelter that was open to all, so open to all genders and sexes, children, things like that,” Comer said.
According to their website, The Julian Center “empowers survivors of domestic and sexual violence and creates a community where every individual is safe and respected. And we are proud to be the largest organization of its kind in Indiana.”
On their website they have a wishlist that includes things like general hygiene items, linens, clothing, household items, medications, etc., which all are given to survivors within the Center.
In addition to collecting donations for The Julian Center, the event was meant to create a safe space to open up the conversation about domestic violence. As part of this initiative, the Student Activities Planning Board (SAPB) hosted a mask painting table at the event.
“We really wanted to just make an event that was going to be a good time. So that we could show that these topics don't have to be heavy conversations. We can talk about it and also have a dance party and a costume competition,” Comer said.
For more information on the Health and Wellness Promotion, they can be found on the Student Affairs website and can be contacted via email at email@example.com. PPEP can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abigail Godsen (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in Applied Information Sciences with a minor in Classics. She is a reporter, podcast co-host and Copy Editor for The Campus Citizen. When she isn’t writing, Abby likes to cook, do crossword puzzles and drink a lot of tea. She can be summoned using tea, cardigans and books (according to her roommate Jackie).