Students, Faculty Strive to ‘Walk a Mile’

Kailene Nye, Reporter

Students and faculty hope to host the second annual “Walk A Mile” event next semester.

The event, last held March 2011, involves men putting on high heels and walking to bring awareness to issues such as sexual assault, rape, and violence toward women. Participants are also encouraged to secure sponsors to raise money to donate to women’s shelters and other organizations that serve women.

Dr. Amanda Caleb, associate professor of English and director of Medical and Health Humanities, originally proposed and organized the event with Dr. Rebecca Steinberger, Professor of English, and Dr. Amanda van Lanen of the history department.

Caleb said the event was part of a strategic initiative grant in honor of Women’s History Month.

She helped recruit participants, develop a registration form, order red high-heeled shoes, and make sure the event ran smoothly. She also booked the keynote speaker, Dr. Lee Ann de Reus, President of the Panzi Foundation USA Board, the organization the event benefits.

“It was a great success,” Caleb said. “We had over 30 participants and raised $2,000 for the Panzi Foundation.”

She said it is uncertain if the event will be helps because it is important that enough students and people in the broader Misericordia community are interested in participating.

“I love events that raise money for organizations that need it and can do a lot of good for the community, so I’d like to see this event, or something like it, happen on campus again,” she said.

Daniella Amendola, senior English major, said she would also love to attend the event before she graduates in the spring.

“I think it would be, one, fun to see. Two, I would love to be able to help participate in something that honestly does bring some good to this world and help someone who needs help. Even if it’s just a few dollars, it would help someone who is genuinely in a lot of pain,” Amendola said.

Amendola found out about the event during an advisement meeting with Caleb. She wanted to know why Caleb had so many red high heels in her closet, and the story unfolded from there.

“I thought it was such a cool idea, especially because I feel like it would be interesting just to see it happen on this campus. I wish I was there when it happened originally,” she said.

Caleb said events like “Walk A Mile” are important because they start conversations and help those involved understand other people’s experiences.

“It’s a visual representation of the idea of understanding another’s experience, which makes people take notice, particularly when participants are wearing 4-inch red stilettos! I think any event that creates a conversation and does some good in the world regarding sexual violence toward any group is worthwhile. This is just one that draws a lot of attention because of the visuals,” Caleb said.

She added that if it does take place, she would love to see it get more exposure on the media.

“If we do it again, I’d love to see us involved the local media. I see a battle between the weather forecasters on the local networks!”

Amendola said such events are crucial because they increase awareness of important social issues.

“The idea of service is really important on this campus and bringing awareness about sexual assault, especially in this day in age, is so, so important because I don’t think that a lot of people on this campus really understand what bringing awareness to stuff like that really entails. I think they’d rather just keep their heads down and not hear about issues like that because it doesn’t affect them. So, bringing awareness in a funny way and allowing people to participate, to raise money for a good cause, that’s incredible.”

She also said it would be a good learning experience for  participants.

“I think that they can learn to probably just educate themselves on what is happening in the world outside of their little, little town in Northeastern Pennsylvania because not much happens here, but we do have an effect on the world and we can bring positive change if we try.”