Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) is MIT’s primary on-campus resource for preventing and responding to interpersonal violence, including sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. Since VPR’s inception, violence prevention on MIT’s campus has become a cause students across campus can get behind.
MIT’s Alpha Chi Omega sorority in particular has made violence prevention their mission. AXO’s philanthropic priority is to organizations for domestic violence awareness, and they work hard throughout the year to bring events and useful information to the attention the MIT community. The MIT chapter is a strong supporter of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Sisters consistently volunteer at the BARCC’s annual Walk for Change and Champions for Change Gala. They also have their own community outreach events at MIT. Through several annual events like a lip sync competition open to everyone in the MIT community and Domestic Violence Awareness Week, the chapter raises money to send directly to the BARCC.
The current AXO service chair and 2016 vice president of philanthropy, Jasmin Joseph '18, is the driving force for the sorority’s work in this area. As vice president of philanthropy, Joseph managed three committees and served as the primary contact between AXO and other groups that helped to organize events. She coordinated talks, workshops, poster campaigns, and activities for both her sisterhood and the MIT community at large. The main goal of her position was to raise awareness in new creative ways and to fundraise for the BARCC.
With domestic violence awareness as their main cause, AXO constantly spreads the word about the experiences of victims and survivors. They aim to educate others about the warning signs of a damaging relationship so that people can be active bystanders and either help someone escape a violent situation or prevent one from occurring. Showing what domestic violence means can also make people more aware of warning signs in their own relationships and give them the courage to stand up for themselves and make a change.
As for their fundraising efforts, all of the money they raise goes to the BARCC. This helps the nonprofit remain a safe haven and a resource for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The BARCC aims to help survivors navigate the psychological, physical, legal, and financial roads they’ll find themselves on along the road to recovery. With the efforts of AXO among many other donors, the BARCC employs over thirty full-time staff members who operate a twenty-four-hour help hotline and provide assistance with medical advocacy, legal services, counseling services, education groups, case management, community education, and professional training.
AXO is proud to support an organization that directly impacts people’s lives within the local community. To raise funds and awareness, AXO has held Derby Days with Sigma Chi, lip sync competitions, obstacle courses, carnation sales, and Healthy Relationships Awareness Week. They’ve also started a Facebook page called Relationships of MIT. For more information, visit the VPR site, the BARCC site, and the AXO Facebook page.