PAVE-ing their way through COVID-19
3 mins read

PAVE-ing their way through COVID-19

USD’s Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE) is focusing on spreading awareness for sexual assault on USD’s campus. After having to cancel their events last semester, when classes moved online, the group is ready to get back to work on campus.

Anyone is welcome to join PAVE, Claire Lorenzen, Vice President of PAVE said. Students can join PAVE to learn about others’ experiences and be a support system for those in need. PAVE events, Lorenzen said, are for both allies and victims.

While the club wasn’t able to meet and host events last semester, Lorenzen said the club has remained close-knit.

“We are kind of like a big family and we are always very welcoming to new people,” Lorenzen said.

This is PAVE’s fourth year on campus as they enter their fourth year, Lorenzen said, their goal of empowering victims and helping spread awareness for sexual assault remains the same.

“At the meetings, we usually have themes or host events to raise awareness to the students attending. We also try to help students learn more about other sexual assault stories and statistics,” Lorenzen said.

PAVE National this year has chosen an overall theme to be “Take Back the Swipe.”

“They chose this theme with intentions to reach out to students about dating apps and help inform students on how to be safe while using dating apps by help them recognize situations they should avoid,” Lorenzen said.

Due to rules and regulations of the CDC and USD for COVID-19, dates of upcoming events are uncertain for PAVE. Events will also look different this year. Instead of some of their traditional activities, PAVE members are planning on hosting sexual assault awareness exhibits outside of I.D. Weeks Library on campus.

“The purpose of them will be that students and faculty can come walk through the exhibit and look at the information while maintaining a safe six-foot distance from others,” Lorenzen said. 

In previous years PAVE has hosted many different events and themes. An event they hosted two years ago entitled “What I Was Wearing” took place on the second floor of I.D. Weeks Library. 

For this event they had survivors of sexual assaults anonymously submit the outfit that they were wearing during the time of their assault. 

 “It was really powerful, we had a lot of people in their pajamas from when they were about eleven or so and that was really eye opening because a lot of times you hear about someone getting drunk or partying,” Lorenzen said.

Last year PAVE set up a wall in the MUC that was easily accessible to students and faculty, called the solidarity wall. 

Sophomore Melissa Pham said it encouraged students to listen and learn from others.

“It was really important because the campus and student body as a whole was encouraging students to speak about their experiences and just have support in their experiences,” Pham said.

The next PAVE meeting will be held in September; the official date and time are yet to be determined. Information about meetings can be found on their social media, PAVE USD, for any students that are interested in getting involved with PAVE.