UTM’s Student Housing and Residence Life held their annual Light the Night event in Roy Ivor Hall.  Students came together to raise awareness of power-based personal violence in the community.  The event was the culmination of the fundraising campaign of the last two weeks, in which students and staff raised about $600 for Interim Place, a charity that advocates for women who have been victims of violence.

The Light the Night committee, a collection of students and Residence Life staff, organized the event and collected donations at successful tabling sessions in Oscar Peterson Hall and through a competitive changedrive with residence student communities.

The event started just after 8 p.m. in the decorated lobby of Roy Ivor, where rows of candlelit bags formed a walkway outside the building.

People crowded in the lobby for the 30-minute presentation, which featured an informational video filmed by Chris Hugelmann in which students wore ribbons of different colours to symbolize different types of violence, and had statistics written in black on parts of their bodies. Members of the committee explained U of T’s
Green Dot violence prevention program.

Afterwards, Farheen Khan, a representative of Interim Place, expressed her gratitude for the donations. “One out of two women in Canada has experienced some form of violence,” she said.

The candlelit walk around campus followed. Jenna Malone and Amanda Luongo, the chief organizers, asked everyone to reflect on something meaningful to them during the silent walk. Tamara Bernstein and William Yih led the attendees carrying their candles around the campus to “light the night” as a positive symbol of the effort to prevent violence.

When they returned to the lobby, the guests painted their hands and added their handprints to a collection of canvases, informally pledging, “These hands will not be used for violence.”