Pi Sigma Alpha hosts annual Take Back the Night march

Tennessee Tech’s Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society held the annual Take Back the Night march around campus Tuesday evening.

The march was held in conjunction with the Clothesline Project, which was hosted by the Tech Women’s Center. Both events are meant to raise awareness and bring an end to sexual violence.

Take Back the Night began with featured guest speaker Tara Bates from Genesis House, a private, nonprofit agency that is dedicated to empowering victims of domestic and sexual violence in Cookeville.

The marchers began in the Tech Pride Room of the Roaden University Center then walked a loop around campus. Caitlin Jared, an alumna of Tech, said the atmosphere of the march was an emotional experience.

“Walking around and reading the stories caused a range of emotions from anger to sadness that prepared everyone for the march,” said Jared.

Once the march began, the tone of the crowd changed.

“At first I would say it was solemn,” said political science major Miranda Stoltz, “But once we started marching the crowd was getting fired up and shouting as loud as they could throughout the walk.”

“The march itself has a lot of positive energy, with participants shouting out chants and holding up posters to draw awareness to the problem of sexual violence,” said Jennifer Anderson, assistant professor of sociology and political science as well as faculty adviser to Pi Sigma Alpha.

The event is always held on the first Tuesday of April, according to Anderson, which this year coincided with Juicy J’s S.O.L.O. concert. Despite this, Take Back the Night was still able to take place at its regularly scheduled time.

“It was scheduled well in advance of the Juicy J concert,” said Anderson. “When we found out the concert was on the same date, we altered the start time so that students could attend both events.”

Although the events are meant to dissuade sexual violence, Anderson and Stoltz think Tech’s campus is a safe environment.

“In my four years involved with Take Back the Night, Tech’s campus has been very accommodating of the event, from the TTU police serving as escorts to the feedback we receive from the campus community,” said Anderson.

Stoltz said the campus is safe to express views on this subject as well walking in the dark.

“As far as walking around at night I believe it is safe, but I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone because sexual violence can happen anywhere,” Stoltz said.