Most of that derived from the fact that RespectCon, the conference on sexual assault prevention/response that I helped organize, happened this past Friday. Like, actually happened. People came! Presentations were made! Cameron and I got to have a wonderful discussion about armadillos and leprosy! There was a hashtag!
So that was very nice. I think it went well. If it didn’t, then I know a lot of very polite, very convincing liars, which is emotionally equivalent.
This conference–and my other work with the Respect Program–is hands-down the thing about which I am most proud when it comes to my time at Emory College. I got involved with the work when I was a Wee Tiny Idealist, a freshman that Emory covered to attend another organization’s sexual assault prevention conference.
I remember feeling excited, and angry, and excited again, and seeing a great presentation from these folks called Sexual Assault Peer Advocates. And I remember wanting Emory to have a program that did those things, and sent people to conferences in matching shirts, and generally Cared About These Issues.
Right as I moved to Emory, conveniently, they hired the woman who now runs the Respect Program. And she was (and is) great–both at her job, and at being a person in general. Truly a top-notch human being. I met her at the first ever public Emory Sexual Assault Peer Advocate training, which I attended because I remembered that first conference.
And at the end of that, I said hello, and I stuttered, and I gave her my business card and said that I wanted to do something.
Instead of shunning me for being the kind of weirdo who buys her own calling cards, as she might have, she kept in touch. And then, I wound up spending a summer working for her, reading books that I liked and writing outlines for programs that didn’t ever happen. (Which was, in and of itself, a wonderful way to learn that even in supportive environments, sometimes things just don’t come together.) I got my own business cards with the office’s logo on them.
So, when she proposed that we put on a conference, I said “sure.” At no point did it seem like it was really going to happen, because seriously, who listens to a student about that kind of thing?
But y’all? It totally did. And it was awesome. And I am totally, completely excited to attend RespectCon 2014. (Which will be organized by Someone The Hell Else, because good lord I am not sending that many emails ever again.)