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Candlelight vigil illuminates life-or-death issue

The national recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and its Week of Action (Oct. 18-24) was honored on the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus with a Purple Thursday candlelight vigil at the front of Klump Academic Center.

The human services & restorative justice major collaborated with Student Engagement and the Williamsport branch of YWCA Northcentral PA to host the public event.

Human services faculty and students are all aglow, showing their support and giving voice to an important cause.
Human services faculty and students are all aglow, showing their support and giving voice to an important cause.
Cameron K. Ramsey, a junior in applied human services from Emporium, is among a number of students who engaged in the gathering.
Cameron K. Ramsey, a junior in applied human services from Emporium, is among a number of students who engaged in the gathering.

“Human services and restorative justice classes often talk about the importance of understanding community needs, resources and advocacy. This event happened because of hard-working students exercising these tenets,” said Sarah S. Moore, an instructor in the major.

Amber Morningstar, YWCA Northcentral PA program director and a part-time Penn College faculty member, delivers information on domestic violence and the importance of speaking about it.
Amber Morningstar, YWCA Northcentral PA program director and a part-time Penn College faculty member, delivers information on domestic violence and the importance of speaking about it.

“Our students recognize the benefits of collaborating with other agencies, like YWCA and Penn College Student Engagement, to bring awareness to these types of concerns. They did a tremendous job planning, advertising and organizing the evening.”

Purple Thursday, a national day of action, is an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence, support survivors, express commitment to ending violence and promote healthy relationships. Wearing purple attire is an additional way to mark the occasion.

Seniors Alexandria M. George, of Wyomissing, and Carly J. Kissinger, of Pottsville, were influential in spearheading the candlelight vigil.

In various hues of purple, campus and community members gather at the front of the ACC for the vigil.
In various hues of purple, campus and community members gather at the front of the ACC for the vigil.

“I think getting this message out there is so important, so I am glad we can have that opportunity here,” George said. “I appreciate that we are on a campus where we can hold an event like this. We also have supportive faculty around us who helped organize this event and the YWCA who helped, as well.”

Morningstar (center) joins fellow YWCA employees in a reflective moment. Rebecca Hosier (left) and Jennifer Swanson serve as medical advocate and prevention educator, respectively, with YWCA’s Wise Options.
Morningstar (center) joins fellow YWCA employees in a reflective moment. Rebecca Hosier (left) and Jennifer Swanson serve as medical advocate and prevention educator, respectively, with YWCA’s Wise Options.

Kissinger added: “Bringing awareness to domestic violence on college campuses is important because abuse is often overlooked in college relationships. Seventy percent of college students do not know they are experiencing domestic abuse because it is typically their first real serious relationship. Bringing awareness to domestic violence is extremely important so we can prevent further people from being victimized.”

Photos by Kollin G. Kisner, student photographer

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