Heels_UnitedThe Heels United for a Safe Carolina awareness campaign supports the University’s commitment to a safe and welcoming Carolina – a campus that is free from discrimination and harassment, sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking. The campaign raises awareness of these issues, prevention efforts, and available resources.

Every member of our campus community has a responsibility to help create a safe environment for all. This campaign emphasizes the importance of being united in this effort.

Stay Connected! 

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Campaign Components

Here’s a snapshot of components of the campaign that are currently underway.

  • Resources
  • Events and Programs 
  • Heels United Project 

Heels United Project

What’s the project about? The Heels United Project is an ongoing communication installation about creating a safe campus for all.  You’ll see installations about a range of topics on campus throughout the year.

Why this type of project? No one ad campaign or ad placement will solve these important issues.  Ads can help raise awareness of policies, bring attention to important issues, and provide information about resources and programs. This communication installation is only one component of a larger program we’re continuing to build to provide a safe and welcoming campus for all at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The idea for the Heels United Project came about following several ad testing and planning sessions with students, staff and others that emphasized the importance of finding a communications channel that would allow us to actively connect with the campus community throughout the year on many important points.  The installation project provides the opportunity to share important information, directly connect our community to resources, and encourage everyone to get involved on campus.

Interested in helping out?  If you see an installation on campus this year, share information about it with your friends using your social media accounts and the hashtag #HeelsUnitedProject.  Encourage your friends to stop by and check it out.

Have ideas for future installations or want to get more involved with the project? Let us know.  We’re looking for great team members to help develop future installations and we’re always interested in learning more about the topics you want to address through this project.

First Installation of the Heels United Project - Think A.C.E. for Consent

The first installation, Think A.C.E. for Consent, was about just that – consent.  The messages in this installation provided information about the University’s definition of consent for sexual contact (e.g., touching, kissing, sex) in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct.

We launched the campaign with this foundational messaging because it’s critically important that everyone on our campus have the same baseline knowledge about what it means to have consent.   We also wanted to emphasize in the messaging that you don’t in any way have to engage in sexual activity to be part of this project and our efforts to create a safe campus.  You can help by understanding what consent means and serving as an active bystander to help those around you stay safe.

This installation is just one of the many ways that students and employees receive information about consent.  Information is provided during orientation sessions, in mandatory online trainings both prior to and during the school year, and as part of other programs offered by the University.  We also plan to create additional installations later this year that will build on this foundational consent message and address other related topics.

What’s the story behind Think A.C.E. for Consent? Last year, a Task Force consisting of students, faculty, staff, and a representative from the community made recommendations to revise the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct.  The University accepted the recommendations and adopted a revised policy in August 2014, which included a more comprehensive definition of consent.

With this first installation, we sought to highlight the major points about consent in the policy so that everyone has an easy way to remember them.   When a large group of students was asked about the most important thing for the messages to contain, almost all students responded that an acronym or some sort of mnemonic device was critical to remembering the key points about consent.  We came up with several concepts for the messaging and one concept prevailed.  A.C.E. worked best because it captured the points we sought to highlight in the policy.

“THINK” was a natural choice to precede A.C.E. because it emphasizes that one should always stop to think about whether consent has been or is capable of being given.  This applies to those engaging in the conduct and to potential bystanders.  More broadly, it reflects the continued pursuit of the goal for a shift in culture to one where all members of the campus community incorporate this thought process, which includes a 100% commitment to the safety, health and well-being of everyone around you.

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Second Installation of the Heels United Project - Love Empowers

October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month.  This installation was designed to increase awareness about relationship violence, resources on campus, and events that were taking place throughout the month.  Students and employees were out on campus on October 8 handing out awareness ribbons and cards with more information.

Students were asked to take a photo with a ribbon on and hashtag #HeelsUnitedProject for a chance to win a gift card to student stores!

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Third Installation of the Heels United Project - Stick Together

Stick together.  Look out for each other and check in with friends.  The third installation of the Heels United Project was all about working together to help make Chapel Hill a safe place.

We were on campus Thursday, October 29 (Rams Head Plaza) and Friday, October 30 (Polk Place) to raise awareness about the importance of sticking together with friends to help everyone stay safe while they’re out and about in Chapel Hill.   We asked students to sign a pledge of who they would be sticking with and we shared information about how to get involved in bystander intervention training on campus.

We also passed out bubble gum (stick together!) to help spread the word about the campaign on social media.  Those who stopped by were encouraged to take a photo blowing bubbles and share the photo on social media using the hashtags #heelsunitedproject and #sticktogether.  They were also asked to note who they were sticking with to help make Carolina a safe place for all!

Ways to #StickTogether:

  • Make a plan. Before you go out, decide on how you’re getting to your destination and how you’re getting home. Account for all people in your group when you go out and when you return.  Check in to make sure your friends are safe throughout the night and that they’re making it home safely.
  • Be observant and address issues. If you see a friend causing a problem, speak up and let them know their behavior is not appropriate. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable, check in to see if they’re OK.  Always look out for your fellow Tar Heels.
  • Ask for help. Medical professionals and law enforcement are a quick call away.  Reach out to them for support or intervention if you see someone with symptoms of alcohol poisoning, another emergency, or a crime.

Click here for more information about bystander intervention and One Act skills training.

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