Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Northern Iowa Is Attempting to Change The Conversation Around Sexual Assault


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I’ve seen a lot of really amazing philanthropies that raise awareness and funds for all kinds of causes. From homelessness to cancer research to wounded warriors to literacy, Greek organizations strive to help in any way that they can. One cause that is a little more difficult for Greeks to raise awareness for is sexual assault, particularly due to the sensitive nature of the issue. While many people point a finger at fraternity men as being a large part of this problem on college campuses, the men of the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at the University of Northern Iowa aren’t shying away from the discussion. Quite the opposite, actually. They are opening the dialogue and encouraging their campus community to get involved.

The chapter is holding their 3rd Annual “Sexual Assault Awareness Week” (SAAW for short). While the event raises money for Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, a local domestic violence shelter, the big-picture focus of the week-long event is teaching people how to be active bystanders, by educating peers, professors, and community members on how to watch for signs of sexual assault before it happens and how to prevent it.

When asked why this particular cause is so important to the chapter, Michael Foley, the chapter’s Social Media Chairman, told us,

We feel it is our duty to educate and make an impact because we have the ability [to do so]. All of us in SigEp have women in our life we love; to think about something like this happening to them… It’s very sobering and hits home hard.

The planned events for the week include:

Monday the 30th: SeeSAWW, which featured SigEp brothers along with members of the university community riding a seesaw for 24 hours to demonstrate that sexual assault can happen at any time.

Tuesday the 31st: Women’s self-defense class taught by a university police officer, which included education as well as self-defense techniques.

Wednesday the 1st: “Snag a SigEp” Date Auction Fundraiser.

Thursday the 2nd: Sexual Assault Defense Speaker: Kevin Teets, an attorney advocating for a safe and values-based Greek experience.

Friday the 3rd: Scratch Cupcakes and Cookies, during which members of the fraternity will ask for donations as they hand out cupcakes, cookies, and informational pamphlets on campus.

Plus they’re actively looking to raise awareness on social media all throughout the week.




Amazing work, gentlemen.

To learn more about the event, as well as see pictures from the “Teal Tuesday” and “Stand Up Against Sexual Assault” campaigns the chapter is running throughout the week, follow them on Twitter at @SigEpUNI.

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