Alums Unite to Show What Penn State is Really All About
Washington, D.C., November 11th — What started with a small group of passionate alumni has exploded into a national display of Penn State pride, as thousands of Penn Staters have joined together to help victims of sexual assault. Using social media, these supporters have raised over $250,000 in 2 ½ days for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. Minutes before today’s Nittany Lions kickoff, #ProudPSUforRAINN made it halfway to its goal of raising one dollar for every one of Penn State’s 557,000 alumni.
RAINN will use the funds raised for prevention efforts and to help victims through the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, which is a popular resource for younger victims who are feel more comfortable seeking help online. Since #ProudPSUforRAINN launched 2 days ago, RAINN has seen a 38% increase in the number of victims using the Online Hotline. RAINN’s hotline director, Jennifer Marsh, said, “We’re seeing an outpouring of people reaching out for help — women and men, boys and girls — many of whom have been encouraged to get help for the first time as a result of this tragedy.”
“We are so proud that Penn Staters and other supporters have banded together to help something positive come out of this tragedy,” said proudtobeapennstater.com co-founder Jerry Needel, Penn State ’98. "We are also extremely thankful to the Nebraska fan base for rallying around our cause. We hope to meet our goal of raising $500,000 by the end of the game today. Please continue to join us in showing the world what being a proud supporter of Penn State really means by making a donation in support of preventing and treating victims of sexual abuse, using #ProudPSUforRAINN.”
In an impressive display of solidarity, fans of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who face Penn State today, have also given generously to support #ProudPSUforRAINN. The popular Nebraska spots blog, HuskerMax.com, was one of the first to mobilize readers to support the campaign.
Penn Staters in every state — alumni, students, parents and fans — and other college sports enthusiasts have joined together to ensure something like this never happens again — anywhere.
Penn State student Cait Gossert said, "This campaign shows the true meaning of We Are...Penn State. As a Penn State student, this campaign has given me a way to identify with thousands of Penn State community members and prove that our community is equally as saddened by these events as the rest of the nation. This is the first step toward a brighter future for victims of child abuse and members of this Penn State community."
Along with their donations, many PSU fans have commented about how important this campaign is to them. "Penn State will show the world that we are a strong group of proud people that stand up against the atrocities of the world — whatever they are,” said one donor.
Another donor noted, “On behalf of my beloved alma mater and fellow Penn Staters, part of what it means to be a Nittany Lion is to stand strong in the face of adversity and have the courage to do what is right, no matter what. This is Penn State's darkest hour, so let's fight for our school and what it truly means to have a Penn State diploma. Our PSU football legacy means nothing compared to the hardships these victims will endure for the rest of their lives. Let's show them what we are made of, and that we will stand up for them when no one else would".
To make your voice heard, you can join the conversation on Twitter: #ProudPSUforRAINN, and take action by donating and signing the online petition at www.rainn.org/ProudPSUforRAINN
About RAINN: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org, and join the conversations on Facebook (RAINN01) and Twitter (RAINN01, #ProudPSUforRAINN).