Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources & Education (SHARE) partnered with local nonprofit Womanspace to line Prospect Avenue and other streets around campus with luminarias, lanterns consisting of a candle set in a small paper bag weighted with sand, in a project known as Communities of Light.
Womanspace is a nonprofit agency in Mercer County, New Jersey, which provides services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults and families.
Their partnership with SHARE is part of a larger movement in central New Jersey to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault and of services available to help victims in Mercer County.
During the winter solstice in December, Communities of Light candles line the streets of central New Jersey as a symbol of hope for women and children impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault in the community.
“I think it’s a great way to show support and that we are there for the victims and show people on campus that this is an important issue,” Angela Kim ’19 said.
“They're really powerful symbols of solidarity and love — there's something so incredible in seeing them light up the paths around you and in the reflection that they engender in those who do,” Kelly Hatfield ’17, Vice President of Communications for the SHARE peer program, said.
“SHARE has been partnering with Womanspace for this event for a number of years, and I think it's really impactful working with a group that does so much to support victims and survivors in the broader Princeton area, and that has for thirty years now,” she added.
A similar event to raise mental health awareness and encourage solidarity amongst the student body was hosted by To Write Love on Her Arms, and took place outside of Frist Campus Center last week. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, according to its Facebook page.
Some students were reminded of that event as they walked along Prospect Avenue.
“I don’t totally know what they’re here for, and I didn’t get the chance to read all of the ones near Frist, but the candles do seem to be about embracing yourself,” Kevin Bradicich ’18 said.
In the future students hope to understand more about the causes behind awareness campaigns to enlighten them on what they see walking around campus.
“I noticed them, but I had no idea what they were for. If there were posters on the lampposts saying what the lights were about that would help me understand more of what this event was for,” Anne Haque ’17 said.