Hobart College rowers, junior Tyler Steving and senior Jordan Mueller are working hard off of the water to promote a culture of respect on campus. Steving and Mueller serve as president and vice president for the student group Hobart for Equality and Respect (HEAR). Through HEAR, Mueller and Steving work with the Title IX office and played a major part in the planning of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event held on April 19.
Steving and Mueller worked alongside sophomore Zach Grattan, a center on Hobart’s basketball team, to organize this year’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. The primary objective of the walk was to take a stand against sexual assault and violence against women. The event required a $5 registration fee that was donated to Safe Harbors, a crisis hotline for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. This year’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event raised nearly $400 for Safe Harbors.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes allows students to discuss sexual assault and domestic violence and abuse in a different forum,” Mueller said. “By giving males the chance to walk a mile in high heels, the event helps the participants understand that it is not a joke to talk about assault and abuse. The event is hopefully segued into a deeper conversation of what is abuse, what is violence, and how does it affect people.”
Last year, HEAR laid the groundwork for the event in a minor role, but this year Steving and Mueller took more of a leadership role in the planning of the entire day. HEAR combined forces with the HWS Sustainable Foods Club to put on an all-day event. Along with the walk, participants enjoyed performances by three college acapella groups, and food from food trucks brought in by the sustainable foods club.
“In my opinion, Walk a Mile really focuses on bringing awareness to and helping people talk about the heavy topics of domestic violence or sexual assault in lighter way,” Steving said. “There is a good metaphor around the event, by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. To be able to put your feet into a pair of high heels puts into context what HEAR is walking for and what they are taking a stand against. I think the event encouraged the participants to think about domestic violence and sexual assault from another point of view.”
In addition, Mueller headed the quilt project this fall through HEAR as a way to give a voice to people who had been affected by domestic abuse, assault, or violence in an anonymous venue. The quilt project was a way for people, whether a survivor or a supporter, to say this is who I am without putting a name to a face in the story. Each person received a T-shirt to decorate and personalize. Then HEAR had the shirts stitched together to create a quilt. Mueller and other members of HEAR collected nearly 100 T-shirts to complete the quilt which was displayed in the Scandling Campus Center.
HEAR is a social justice group for Hobart students. The group provides a space for students to talk about all facets of social justice from sexual assault to mental illness. Steving has served as president of HEAR since January 2014.
“We try to tackle social justice issues from a male perspective whether it be sexual assault or domestic abuse or assault,” Mueller said. “It can be a little difficult to voice your opinion as a male in today’s society where there is a stigma that you are not allowed to express your feelings. HEAR was put together as a venue where male and male identifying students can come together and say what they wanted within reason and without being disrespectful and not have to worry about that stigma.”
Steving is a member of Hobart’s second varsity eight that won gold medals at the Liberty League Championships last weekend and silver medals at the Knecht Cup. Mueller competed with the varsity four at the Knecht Cup and won a Liberty League Championship. The Statesmen will be back on the water on Saturday, May 2, when they travel to Princeton, New Jersey, to take on No. 9 Navy, No. 18 Columbia, and George Washington.