Start by Believing Day emphasizes importance of visual support

By Hayley Vanstrum

New College students could create their own tie-dye shirt in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
New College students could create their own tie-dye shirt in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

New College commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness Month by hosting Start by Believing Day April 3. SAAM coordinator Robyn Manning-Samuels worked with Student Activities and Campus Engagement directors Tara Centeno and Danielle McCalla to organize the event, during which students showed support for victims of sexual assault by signing a pledge: “When someone tells me they were raped or sexually assaulted, I pledge to _______.”

Start by Believing, an organization committed to changing the way people respond to sexual assault, began hosting the events on the first Wednesday in April in 2016. The movement has since grown to encourage communities around the globe to believe survivors of sexual violence.

Manning-Samuels worked with Centeno and McCalla to partner with Safe Place and Race Crisis Center Sarasota. Lead Victim Advocate Amanda Shubert joined the Student Activities office and the Counseling and Wellness Center to collect student pledges during the event. The event had a strong visual presence around campus, including teal SAAM ribbons and bandanas. Students could also show their support throughout the year by making their own tie-dye shirts in the event’s signature color.

Students can keep their pledges, or return them to SAAM committee members who will display them during the I Believe You march later this month. Visit the New College calendar for more information about the upcoming march and other SAAM events taking place during the month of April.

— Hayley Vanstrum is an intern at the Office of Communication and Marketing.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre bay front campus is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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