Every member of our campus community has a responsibility to help create a safe and welcoming environment at Carolina. The Heels United for a Safe Carolina campaign raises awareness of the importance of respect, inclusion, and a shared commitment to look out for the well-being of fellow Tar Heels.
Heels United Project
The Heels United Project, one of the components of the awareness campaign, is an ongoing communication installation about creating a safe campus for all. Installations appear on campus throughout the year and cover a range of topics – consent, bystander intervention, inclusion and diversity, and relationship violence, to name a few.
If you see us on campus, stop by and check out the installation. While you’re there, meet some of our staff members! Share information about the installation on social media using the hashtag #HeelsUnitedProject.
Have ideas for future installations or want to get more involved? Let us know. We’re looking for great team members.
Think A.C.E. for Consent
The first installation, Think A.C.E. for Consent, was about just that – consent. The messages in this installation provided information about the University’s definition of consent for sexual contact (e.g., touching, kissing, sex) in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct. The messages were displayed on 50 A-frame boards in high-traffic locations on campus at the start of the year.
We launched the campaign with this foundational messaging because it’s critically important that everyone on our campus have the same baseline knowledge about what it means to have consent. We also wanted to emphasize in the messaging that you don’t in any way have to engage in sexual activity to be part of this project and our efforts to create a safe campus. You can help by understanding what consent means and serving as an active bystander to help those around you stay safe.
When asked, we learned that an acronym or some sort of mnemonic device was critical to remembering the key points about consent. We came up with several concepts for the messaging and one concept prevailed. A.C.E. worked best because it captured the points we sought to highlight in the policy. “THINK” was a natural choice to precede A.C.E. because it emphasizes that one should always stop to think about whether consent has been or is capable of being given. This applies to those engaging in the conduct and to potential bystanders. More broadly, it reflects the continued pursuit of the goal for a shift in culture to one where all members of the campus community incorporate this thought process, which includes a 100% commitment to the safety, health and well-being of everyone around you.
The Love Empowers installation took place during October as part of Relationship Violence Awareness Month to increase awareness about relationship violence, resources on campus, and events taking place throughout the month. On October 8, volunteers met in the Pit and spread out across campus with purple heart balloons, resource cards, and awareness ribbons.
Our volunteers asked participants to take a photo with a ribbon on and hashtag #HeelsUnitedProject and #LoveEmpowers for a chance to win a gift card to student stores!
Stick together! Look out for each other and check in with friends. The third installation of the Heels United Project was all about working together to help make Chapel Hill a safe place. We were on campus Thursday, October 29 (Rams Head Plaza) and Friday, October 30 (Polk Place) to raise awareness about the importance of sticking together with friends to help everyone stay safe while they’re out and about in Chapel Hill. We asked students to sign a pledge of who they would be sticking with and we shared information about how to get involved in bystander intervention training on campus, including One Act.
We also passed out bubble gum (stick together!) to help spread the word about the campaign on social media. Those who stopped by were encouraged to take a photo blowing bubbles and share the photo on social media using the hashtags #heelsunitedproject and #sticktogether. They were also asked to note who they were sticking with to help make Carolina a safe place for all!
Ways to #StickTogether:
- Make a plan. Before you go out, decide on how you’re getting to your destination and how you’re getting home. Account for all people in your group when you go out and when you return. Check in to make sure your friends are safe throughout the night and that they’re making it home safely.
- Be observant and address issues. If you see a friend causing a problem, speak up and let them know their behavior is not appropriate. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable, check in to see if they’re OK. Always look out for your fellow Tar Heels.
- Ask for help. Medical professionals and law enforcement are a quick call away. Reach out to them for support or intervention if you see someone with symptoms of alcohol poisoning, another emergency, or a crime.