PERU – Over 300 turned out for the fourth annual Cats4Consent march at the Peru State College campus and organizers expect the interest and impact to continue through a month of speakers and activities.

SAAM Coordinator Amanda Sharp called Tuesday's kick off amazing.


Sharp: “I’ve never been on a campus that has had such open dialog about SAAM and I think this is the third institution that I’ve been at. I’ve never been a school that has had something this big and had such an open dialogue about it and had so much support.”

Resident Assistant Andrew Black Elk spoke prior to the march about the importance of raising awareness about a serious topic and making a community that is able to support survivors.


Black Elk: “I pretty much told them what my position is and yes I am a mandatory reporter, but I don’t want them to feel like they are burdening somebody when they come to someone for questions, concerns or if they’ve been hurt in any way. To let them know they are no burdening us. This is what we sign up for. This is what we love to do and want to encourage them to step out if they have concerns.”

Sharp, who is student intervention coordinator at Peru State, said four years of a decorated campus, the What Were You Wearing art display and focused dialogue is making an impact.

Sharp: “We have it all over campus. This is all over campus all month long, so the more they are around this topic, the more they are around the support resources as well. It might make them more aware to talk about their personal experiences or to know, if something happens to them, who they can reach out to and feel more comfortable talking about it.”


She says having over 300 turn out for the Cats4Consent march four years in a row is not a big surprise.

Sharp: “I think that’s just Peru. You tell people I want you to come out and show support and they are here. It helps that we’ve got the encouragement from the coaches and their professors, from their advisers that help encourage them to be there because those staff and team members are here too.”


Sharp called the event one of the best days on campus for her.

Sharp: “It helps bring that awareness. It makes people more willing to talk about it. Especially every even that we have this month will have those support resources, every table, every poster that we have has some sort of a resource on it.