Over the past 32 years, Algonquin’s public relations program has organized events that have fundraised a total of almost $400,000 for various local Ottawa charities.
On March 22, the program’s students kicked off their most recent campaign, Fearless Together, which is designed to raise funds for the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa.
“It’s been emotional for me personally,” said campaign manager of Fearless Together Amelia Garvey. “There are women I know who have been through situations where the sexual support centre is something they used at the time and being able to fundraise for them and represent those women and help reach out and help survivors is humbling.”
The campaign will feature eight different events over the course of two weeks, which started with a launch event attended by the public relations students as well as college president Cheryl Jensen and college ward councillor Rick Chiarelli.
“It’s an issue that a lot of students face in college and university and it’s something the city tries to deal with at the community level on an ongoing basis,” said Chiarelli. “It’s something that I think is uncomfortable for someone to talk about and this helps bring it into the conversation.”
The different causes the program supports each year is chosen by the students themselves, ensuring the topic is something that is important and they care about. This year is no different.
“A group of students pitched this as the charity,” said public relations professor Stephen Heckbert. “The students chose this charity together and made the decision together that this was an area of interest for them.”
Despite the sensitivity of the issue, Garvey feels that Fearless Together sums up both what the public relations program and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa stand for.
“We really wanted to find a name that represented a sense of community,” she said after the launch event. “In our program, we’ve very much become a family because we work so closely together and we wanted to bring that to our charity campaign. What the Sexual Assault Support Centre aims to do is empower women and empower survivors to become fearless so when we thought of Fearless Together it just encapsulated everything that we wanted to represent.”
Their goal through their campaign is to raise $20,000, a number that would bring the total funds raised by the public relations program to $400,000. Their first event, Take Flight Beer Night, took place on March 23, and their last event, In Her Art takes place on April 7.