Respect Week comes to Dalhousie

- September 28, 2015

Team members from Dal Get REAL have a full week of activities planned as part of the university's first Respect Week. (Bruce Bottomley photo)
Team members from Dal Get REAL have a full week of activities planned as part of the university's first Respect Week. (Bruce Bottomley photo)

Each September, towards the end of the month, Dalhousie students, staff and faculty are encouraged to wear pink for a day. The reason: to show support for Dalhousie as a respectful and inclusive place to work and learn.

The occasion is inspired by the efforts of two Nova Scotian junior high students who, eight years ago, encouraged their peers to wear pink in support a classmate who was bullied after wearing a pink T-shirt. Since then, jurisdictions across Canada and around the world have identified "Pink Shirt" or "Anti-Bullying" days where wearing pink is encouraged.

This year, Dalhousie's sixth-annual Pink Day will be held on Tuesday, September 29. Similar to past years, Pink Day events will be held on all four of Dalhousie's campuses. What's different this year is that the conversation will continue as part of Respect Week — a new, campus-wide initiative that runs from Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2.

"For many, Pink Day is focused primarily on anti-bullying," explains Melissa MacKay, Dal's advisor for harassment prevention and conflict management with the Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention. "We want to increase the scope of the conversation. We've collaborated with groups across campus to deliver a full week of programming dedicated to exploring the topic of respect." 

Learn more: Respect Week website

Beyond Pink Day, events scheduled during Respect Week include a lunch and learn that explores ways to raise concerns respectfully; the annual Mawio'mi, organized by the Dalhousie Native Student Association; a "Not Your Typical Sex Talk" in both Truro and Halifax, led by AASECT-certified sexuality educator Dr. Justine Shuey; a variety show, organized by the DSU; and multiple events run by Dal Get REAL, including an anti-bullying themed trivia night and the Athletes Give Back auction. 

"I always encourage people to get involved, especially with something like this," says Bobby MacPherson, coordinator of the Get REAL Movement at Dalhousie. "Respect can look like many different things depending on the person. Everyone has a different viewpoint, a different opinion and a different experience to share."

Respect Week is the result of cooperation and collaboration amongst a number of groups and offices, including: Dal Get REAL; the Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention; Facilities Management; the President’s Office; Student Services; the Dalhousie Student Union; the University Club; and Human Resources. 

“Building a culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness is a top priority for Dalhousie — we saw that in the university’s Strategic Direction last year,” explains Janice MacInnis, manager of organizational health in Human Resources. “Respect Week is one of the ways we can encourage understanding and discussion around the experiences of all members of our community.”

For more information about Respect Week and the full list of events, visit the Respect Week site


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