Unitec asks Are you OK?

Press Release – UNITEC

Over 400 Unitec staff and students have shown their support for the *It*s Not OK* campaign by creating a photo mosaic, spelling out *R U OK?* Using photos submitted by staff and students, Unitec has created a visible symbol of the institute of technology*s …Unitec asks Are you OK?

Over 400 Unitec staff and students have shown their support for the *It*s Not OK* campaign by creating a photo mosaic, spelling out *R U OK?* Using photos submitted by staff and students, Unitec has created a visible symbol of the institute of technology*s support of the national *It*s Not OK* campaign.

Working with the Ministry of Social Development and the Unitec Student Union (USU), Unitec Institute of Technology aims to help raise awareness of violent relationships, an issue which is close to home for many New Zealanders.

According to the Ministry of Social Development, one in three women say they have experienced physical or sexual abuse from a partner in their lifetime, which contributes to the $8 billion that family violence costs New Zealand each year.

The campaign was originally brought to Unitec’s attention by a student studying Social Practice, who believed that violence was an important issue for Unitec to take a stand on. USU President, Pete Hodkinson says the campaign has real support from Unitec students.

*It’s great to see Unitec putting together such a strong response to something that genuinely matters to our students. This kind of visible outcome reinforces the fact that students do have a voice and are listened to.*

Unitec Chief Executive, Dr Rick Ede says it was important for the institute to take a leadership role in the community. *Unitec was presented with a significant opportunity to take a leadership role in our communities and across the tertiary sector to act as an agent of positive social and economic change. We are communicating the message that violence, of any kind, is not OK. We aim to increase the understanding of our staff, students and communities by raising awareness of this issue and promoting that it is OK to ask for help.*

Unitec recently put a call out to staff and students to submit their photos for a photo mosaic that spells out *R U OK?* T

he photos are now part of an internal and external campaign to raise awareness and communicate Unitec*s stance against violence. The mosaic has even been posted on the UnitecNZ facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/UnitecNZ ) so that people can *tag* themselves and spread the message of the *It*s Not OK* campaign to their friends and family online. Support channels are being promoted alongside the mosaic on posters around Unitec*s three campuses, and are featured on a mouse pad that has been distributed for staff. The USU student magazine featured a two-page quiz on positive relationships, and Student Ambassadors were also active at Orientation events earlier this year; handing out information on the

It’s Not OK campaign, discussing the issue with students and providing them with support channels that are available to them internally and externally. Unitec also plans to be involved again this year with White Ribbon Day, a campaign led by men who condemn violence against women.

Trish Green from the Ministry of Social Development says they have been impressed by the contribution that Unitec and the USU have made. *We are thrilled to have Unitec on board as a tertiary representative for this campaign. We need to ensure our youth are receiving the right messages around violence, and part of this is educating them on the impacts that violence has on the wider community. Unitec have done a brilliant job so far.

For more information, visit www.unitec.ac.nz

Ends.

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