Sacred Heart University to Host Walk to End Violence Against Women and Girls

News Story: April 19, 2017

Sacred Heart University will host a Walk to End Violence Against Women and Girls on Sunday, April 30, at 9 a.m. at its new West Campus (former GE global headquarters), 3135 Easton Turnpike, Fairfield. The event—sponsored by The Center for Family Justice Inc., Delta Tau Delta fraternity and SHU—is designed to raise awareness and take steps to end violence against females of all ages.

Sacred Heart is opening its West Campus for the event, and members of the local community are invited to participate. Participants will be able to walk the grounds, and light refreshments will be served.

Before the walk begins, attendees will hear from SHU President John J. Petillo; Debra Greenwood, president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice, Inc.; Leonora Campbell, SHU’s Title IX coordinator and adviser to the Culture of Respect team; Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara and student leaders from Delta Tau Delta. Fairfield police, firefighters and other first responders will be honored for their efforts to help SHU student Caitlin Nelson on March 30. After the walk, Delta Tau Delta will award prizes to student participants in categories such as craziest shoes, outfits and largest team.

Greenwood, who is a SHU alumna, is passionate about helping women overcome sexual trauma and has involved Fairfield County universities in her mission for years. “In the past, Sacred Heart University would take part in the Walk a Mile event held in downtown Fairfield. The turnout from SHU’s community was always very large—last year SHU had the largest contingent by far and raised about $5,000 for the cause,” says Greenwood. “I am proud of the University for hosting its very own event this year. There is a strong chemistry among Sacred Heart’s community that I am proud to be part of. We know the turnout for this event will be huge, and SHU’s community will come together to help raise awareness of the number of sexual assaults that occur at universities across the country. We hope that by showing our support, more victims will come forward to seek help.”

Ryan Cannata, chapter president of Delta Tau Delta, will be speaking on behalf of his fraternity at the event. “Our main goal is to help raise awareness of sexual assault. Greek life is portrayed as a lifestyle where sexual assault commonly occurs. We are fighting against this stereotype and want to do our part in letting women on SHU’s campus know they are safe,” says Cannata. “Hosting this event in our own backyard is a huge opportunity for SHU. We hope that by having this event on SHU’s campus, our turnout will be bigger than ever, and students will come together to show school spirit.”

Petillo believes the walk is a means for SHU students, along with the surrounding communities, to unite and make an impact for an important cause. “I encourage everyone to participate and help raise awareness of the issue of sexual violence against women,” he says. “I am looking forward to seeing the Sacred Heart community and folks from the surrounding areas come together to make a powerful statement. I hope this is yet another way for the University and its students to demonstrate value to our neighbors.”

This rain-or-shine event is free and open to the public. All donations will benefit The Center for Family Justice. To donate, visit www.sacredheart.edu/walk