I loved the first day of school as a kid, but I loved it equally much in college. Incredibly, in the first years of college, we would line up outside the main building on campus and present a paper list of courses to the registrar for consideration. Course list complete, I loved trying to be the first to the bookstore to get used copies of books and seeing the stack in my dorm room grow as I collected everything I’d be reading over the course of the semester. I loved the way the leaves on campus were still green but edging toward golden and that by the first day of classes, mornings that had only days before belonged firmly to summer were nearly 100 percent turned over to fall. My college days are long over, but here’s a little first day of school make-believe:
A bandana for tying back hair, or wrapping around your neck.
A new notebook, the color of bricks.
Over-the-top sunglasses for voguing around campus.
A cappuccino mug for earlier mornings.
Colored pencils, not for preschoolers, only.
Fancy book darts for elevating your reading game.
A bum pack for stashing important stuff.
In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do to help young people in schools today:
For safe campuses: Host a teach-in. SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape) bolsters student-led movements against sexual and interpersonal violence on college campuses across the US. If you’re a college student, request a teach-in to develop skills needed to change campus culture, get into the nitty-gritty of your school’s policy on sexual assault, and examine the power dynamics on your campus. If you’re not a student but would like to support the cause, consider making a donation.
For ending sexual assault: Join the conversation. It’s On Us makes it its goal to engage everyone in the conversation to end sexual violence. Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, or community member, take the pledge to commit to supporting survivors, increasing bystander intervention, and working to create a culture of consent. Take it step further and utilize the It’s On Us tools like their consent discussion guide, survivor hotline, and tips for bystander intervention to become even more active in the conversation.
For staying educated: Watch The Hunting Ground. This documentary follows the stories of college-aged rape victims who face judgment and retaliation as they seek justice on their campuses. The Hunting Ground takes a closer look at the ways in which college administrations handle sexual assaults on campus, shedding light on the steps institutions take to cover up rape crimes in the name of protecting their name and brand.