Students Hang Ribbons in Carlisle for Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Courtesy of Riley Heffron ’26

More than 100 blue and orange ribbons, crafted by Dickinson Students, lined either side Hanover Street and High Street drawing attention to Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 


“It may not seem like you have done something incredibly impactful because it was just hanging ribbons, but I think it is more impactful than just the action of hanging ribbons because it’s awareness and having awareness leads to change,” said Meta Bowman, Program Coordinator for the Center for Civic Learning and Action (CCLA). 

These ribbons had information attached to them about the YWCA’s sexual assault and rape crisis services and a QR code that directs people to their website. The blue ribbon represents sexual assault awareness and the orange ribbon represents the YWCA, according to Lily Duarte-Evans, Vice President of Programs at the YWCA.

After the ribbons were made, people were divided into groups to tie the ribbons to the parking meter poles in downtown Carlisle. Afterwards, students went back to the YWCA to help around the center by cleaning out closets of clothes used for victims of human trafficking and creating educational materials for future event tables. 


“If just one person looks at the ribbons and is able to learn something or utilize the resources that are made available by the information provided, that impact will go such a long way,” said Ellie Nordwind ’26.


The YWCA is an organization that serves Carlisle and Cumberland County that is “dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and girls and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” They have programs that help all ages of people and “support all members of the community in need,” the YWCA’s website reports. 

“Most female victims of sexual assault experienced their first rape before the age of 25, and almost half experienced their first rape before age 18. In the same year, 43% of men reported experiencing their first victimization prior to the age of 18, and 26% reported their first victimization at age 10 or younger,” according to the YWCA website. 

“Sexual assault could happen to anyone or by anyone… Hanging the ribbons with the YWCA mission and contact information was an amazing resource for people seeking or needing help. It reminds survivors that there is always a safe space at the YWCA,” Chloe Stidsen ’26 said.

The Dickinson Women’s Soccer Team participated in the Day of Service at the YWCA as a way to give back and bring the team closer together. “As a team, one of our values is ‘selflessness.’ Not only does the team want to translate our values onto the field, we want them to transcend off the field as well,” said Nordwind. 

The team has a committee that helps organize different volunteer opportunities for the team to help the team stay connected to the community. Part of the team volunteered at the Carlisle North Side Bike Ride while others worked with the YWCA. “We value creating a community where everyone feels included and supported,” Sarah Graham ’25 said.

The CCLA was founded in 2019 and took over the Day of Service, however the Day of Service has been going on long before that. After taking a break during COVID-19, the CCLA aimed to organize one Day of Service per month during this school year. This year they have partnered with Community CARES, an organization that battles homelessness in Cumberland County, and Project Share, which provides free food for the community. The goal of the Day of Service is for students to connect the projects they are working with to the bigger picture and consider why the specific problem exists, explained Bowman.

While encouraging students to connect with the community, the Day of Service also encourages students to reflect on what they are doing. Sariah Franklin ’25, a CCLA Service Coordinator who helped plan the event, wanted students to think about the mission of the service for longer than just the one day. In order to accomplish this, the day starts out with a reflection about why the students are there and ends the day with a reflection on the bigger issue and how they can continue to help in the future.  

During this particular day, Franklin led the reflections with the goal of wanting people to “become more comfortable talking about it [sexual assault].” She felt more comfortable leading the group knowing that people wanted to be there and had a purpose and that, she felt, was “inspiring.”

The next Day of Service will be on Earth Day, April 22, when students will help plant trees in Letort Spring Garden Preserve with the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy.