Ribbons on trees tie in issues around campus

Ribbons on trees tie in issues around campus

Organizations around campus hang colorful ribbons on trees around the Quad to raise awareness about issues and causes facing the community.

A big, perfect bow tied on a tree in the Quad flutters softly in the wind. It’s a vibrant purple and a small white card sits next to it, informing passersby about Domestic Violence Awareness month and the resources available to students at the The Women’s Resources and Research Center.

Different organizations around campus can contact Grounds and Landscape Services to reserve a time to hang ribbons on the trees around the Quad to raise awareness about different issues and causes, explained the associate director of Grounds and Landscape Services Cary Avery.

“The ribbons on the trees around the quad are organized by different campus departments/units depending on what the ribbon signifies,” said Memorial Union Director Janna Tolla.

If the trees are available, Grounds and Landscape Services will let any organization that is legitimate and affiliated with the campus hang ribbons, Avery said.

“We really only let them [hang ribbons] for major types of causes,” Avery said. “It would get too crazy to let anyone put them up all the time. It must be an established organization.”

The Women’s Resource and Research Center hung purple ribbons for the entire month of October to build awareness about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, said assistant director for outreach for the Women’s Resource and Research Center Sara Blair-Medeiros.

“The whole idea is to build education and awareness about the resources that are on campus to help them navigate some of the situations that people find themselves in, in regards to domestic violence,” Blair-Medeiros said.

To make sure the community knows what the purpose of these ribbons are, most organizations put up information cards explaining their cause. The Women’s Resource and Research Center put up cards with as much information as possible about Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the resources available to students regarding domestic violence, Blair-Medeiros said.

“Last year when we had the ribbons in the quad, we had a number of drop-ins because of the ribbons,” Blair-Medeiros said.

The specific organizations are in charge of putting up the ribbons, Avery explained. Grounds and Landscape Services makes sure they do it in a neat and orderly way, and if not, they are taken down.

“There’s a policy on campus about no posting on trees,” Avery said. “We allow the ribbons in the quad because they are not posting or nailing anything. We monitor them so nobody takes them down, and we make sure that only one organization has them up at a time.”

Blair-Medeiros said the Women’s Resource and Research Center wanted the community to be involved with hanging the ribbons, so they put the event up on their student affairs calendar and their personal calendar and invited people to wrap the trees with them. Because of this, Good Day Sacramento heard of the event and interviewed them.

“We had a number of people reach out because of that,” Blair-Medeiros said. “We were able to build awareness in other ways this year too, and we wouldn’t had been able to do that if we had not put up the ribbons and stuff and showcased it as an event.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is the issue that the Women’s Resource and Research Center focuses on, but other organizations additionally put up ribbons for other causes. The Veterans Success Center hung yellow ribbons around the Quad outside the Memorial Union, Vanderhoff Quad, the ARC area, and the Equestrian Center for ‘Veterans Week’ in November, said coordinator for the Veterans Success Center Earl Raehsler.

“Doing things like this helps [the veterans] feel like this campus is theirs just as much as any other students,“ Raehsler said. “And it brings awareness to the sacrifices and other stuff that they have done.”

The Veterans Success Center also posts cards next to the ribbons explaining the cause, Raehsler said. But since they hang them right around Veterans Day, he thinks a lot of people understand what they are for.

Raehsler said that he likes how these ribbons help spark conversations and help raise awareness about veterans in the community and other causes around campus.

“Different groups have used [the ribbons] as a symbol to bring awareness to their programs,” Raehsler said. “It brings awareness to the campus and shows the unity of the campus against or for a particular cause, which is great. ”

Written by: Margo Rosenbaum — features@theaggie.org