Two Indiana University of Pennsylvania students have turned
their passion for raising awareness about sexual assault and support for
survivors of violence to a new level, including raising more than $5,100 in
support of the Take Back the Night program.
Amy Kinneer, an early childhood-special education major from
Champion, and Katharine McKinney, a criminology major from Indiana, are
co-chairs of the annual Take Back the Night event on April 13, 2016. Take Back the
Night includes a march through campus and a Speak Out in the Hadley Union
Building Ohio Room.
The event is hosted by the Haven Project peer educators. The
Haven Project is designed to increase and improve counseling and advocacy
services for students who experience violence.
Take Back the Night traditionally includes hundreds of
students, employees, and community members marching through the IUP campus to
show support for victims and survivors of violence. Participants are given a
t-shirt to wear for the event. Shirts are distributed beginning at 7:15 p.m. in
the Putt Hall-Delaney Hall courtyard, the starting point for the march. The march
begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends at the HUB.
The Speak Out event offers survivors of violence the chance
to share their stories, or provide support to others, while publicly
affirming their transition from victim to survivor.
Kinneer designed the shirts for Take Back the Night, and was
charged with getting event sponsors to provide financial support. Her original
goal for sponsorships was $2,000.
“I’ve worked with the Haven Project for three years,” Kinneer
said. “I’ve done a lot of the behind-the-scenes work, and this year was asked
to serve as co-chair. As I kept getting ‘yes’ to requests for sponsorships, I
kept increasing the goal. In the past, we’ve raised about $800, so I’m really
happy about where we are this year.”
Kinneer also has been instrumental in the development of the
“No More” campaign. This campaign features IUP employees (including IUP
President Michael Driscoll and his wife, Becky Driscoll) and others
pledging their support for “No more excuses, no more silence, no more violence”
on posters with their photos displayed around campus. She has also developed
buttons for supporters.
“I never expected this kind of response,” Kinneer said.
“It’s been amazing. The volunteers keep coming.”
McKinney describes herself as the “behind the scenes”
co-chair, providing technical support while training peers. She is a third-year
peer educator and is a lead peer educator in the area of sexual assault.
“As a survivor, I knew I wanted to be involved in getting
information out and building awareness. I’ve been a volunteer with Haven Project
and with the Indiana County Domestic Violence Awareness Task Force.” She
intends to continue with her volunteer work when she begins graduate study at
IUP in the fall.
Kinneer, daughter of Deborah Kinneer and Gerald Kinneer Jr.,
is a 2013 graduate of Connellsville High School. She is a dean’s list student and
provost scholar and has received the Aramark Meal Plan Scholarship and PHEAA
Ready to Succeed Scholarship. In addition to her work with Take Back the Night
and the Haven Project, she is a math tutor and works with the Special Needs
Activity Program. She has volunteered with the Children’s Day of Play event, Indiana
County Library Literacy Day, and Into the Streets service event. She is a member
of Kappa Delta Pi education honor society and is assistant secretary and
treasurer of IUP’s Co-op Board of Directors. She is a student worker in the
Center for Health and Well-Being.
McKinney, daughter of Lisa Smith and Kenn Smith, is a 2012
graduate of Indiana Area High School. She is a dean’s list student and provost
scholar and is the recipient of a 2014 Women’s Leadership Award. She is a
member of the Cook Honors College. In addition to her work with the Haven
Project and Take Back the Night, she also volunteers for the Indiana County
Humane Society and Four Footed Friends.