ΑΧΩ colors others for a brighter future

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Ariel Molinaro

The Beta Omicron chapter of Alpha Chi Omega (AXO), one of the 14 Greek Life chapters at Florida Southern, hosted their annual spring domestic violence awareness, education and prevention philanthropy event on April 9.

“Color Me Alpha Chi” serves as a platform to raise money for domestic violence awareness (DVA) in a colorful way that appeals to a wide span of students. 

For one hour, “Color Me Alpha Chi” invited the Florida Southern community, from a variety of different academic departments and organizations, to join AXO sisters on Mr. George’s Green to show a united front against domestic violence

“Seeing all my friends from different organizations made it really memorable,” Naileya Vargas, an attendee, said.

Upon arrival, guests were encouraged to play with paint in support of the cause. Students covered themselves head-to-toe in each other’s painted handprints and purple domestic violence awareness ribbons, often worn pinned to their shirt or painted on their faces. The purple ribbon symbolizes taking a stand and advocating to stop violence in relationships. Participants had the opportunity to customize button pins and garden rocks with the meaning and image of love in a healthy relationship or DVA facts with a goal to distribute them around the local, Lakeland area, as a way to show a community outreach of support in regards to this sensitive topic for numerous families. 

“One in four women and one in seven men will be abused in a relationship.”

Haley Castillo, AXO Vice President of Philanthropy

 AXO’s philanthropy emphasizes consent in any relationship. At the philanthropy tabling, AXO provided a voluntary pledge where students could handprint to symbolize their signature, which shows an oath to continually advocate against domestic violence. As part of the event, AXO encouraged students to get involved in through lawn games, including messy twister and a water balloon toss, on one condition. Beforehand, the participating members had to ask for consent from each individual, whenever it was throwing a water balloon or covering each other in paint. The historic color clash wrapped up the event’s festivities. Students received paint-filled cups and bottles in every color which are flung at their peers from every direction. 

“The most memorable activity was Color Clash where you just got to throw paint anywhere, everywhere and at anyone,” Ahad Aziz, [attendee], said. “I’m still finding paint everywhere.” 

“Color Me Alpha Chi” was originally founded by AXO alumni and former Vice President of Philanthropy, Amanda Saffyan, who had a passion for philanthropy that enabled her to organize an interactive event that combined education of domestic abuse alongside festivities to appeal to students, regardless of Greek affiliation. Returning Florida Southern students may have previously know this event as “Throw Paint Not Punches.” This year AXO wanted to highlight the spring philanthropy under a new perspective. In an effort to eliminate violence in language and action associated with students’ perception with the event and replace it with a positive mindset. 

The purpose of “Color Me Alpha Chi” is for students to expand their knowledge on the topic of domestic violence and healthy relationships, while allowing the philanthropy to provide necessary resources for victims. Over $800 in donations were raised at the event to support the Peace River Center, a non-profit organization which serves as a safe haven for domestic violence victims.

“It’s incredibly important that students know the signs and symptoms of domestic violence,” Castillo said. “We are in a critical stage of our lives where we develop relationships that will likely last a lifetime.”

Castillo spoke about more than domestic violence awareness, showcasing a handful of ways students themselves can make their own personal impact through donations and community outreach projects. In the Lakeland area, the Peace River Center accepts monetary donations as well as items including gently used household items and clothing for men, women, and children. Community members are also encouraged to volunteer at the Peace River Center Thrift Shoppe on S. Florida Ave. 

For further information and ways to support the Peace River Center can be found online at peacerivercenter.org.

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