Published: Nov 30, 2010
University of Tampa senior Jessica Fontaine is combating sexual assault
across college campuses by arming students with the tools and
programming needed to address the issue.
Fontaine ’11 is interning for a newly launched national nonprofit called One Student
which promotes the idea that one student can make a difference. She
worked this summer helping organize this college-based initiative and
since has joined One Student’s leadership program called the Florida
Collegiate Consortium, a statewide campus alliance of nine colleges and
“This was something I could dive into,” said
Fontaine, a management and economics double major. “I know this was an
important initiative, and it had a lot of room to grow with people who
were very constructive.”
On the board of the consortium, Fontaine
is working with three other interns from Florida universities to
organize a state-wide campaign. This fall that has included
informational programming with promotional-type pledges. It also
involved filming an educational video
that Fontaine suggested and helped host at UT.
this is a topic no one wants to hear about or get involved with until
it happens to them,” Fontaine said. “It’s reactionary.”
Fontaine has started another One Student program, a No Woman Left Behind
chapter, which is a bystander intervention program. Fontaine said the
chapter is working as an umbrella group for other UT events involving
sexual assault awareness, like Take Back the Night and the Vagina
Monologues, and with several of the Greek philanthropies. She said they
are also planning a flash mob (random gathering of people organized via
social media) in the spring called VIBE.
“I hope people become
more comfortable talking about it instead of shoving it under the
carpet,” Fontaine said. “I hope what qualifies as abuse and assault
becomes more clearly defined because the gray area leads to more
One Student grew out of founders Kelly Addington and
Becca Tieder’s decade of college campus presentations about their own
experience with sexual violence. The two Tampa-based speakers have been
to UT and count the school as a strong supporter of their mission.
Administrators from UT have hosted them on campus and participate as
advisory board members for One Student.
“UT has really been
tremendous and has shown a commitment to address this issue year after
year,” said Tieder. “I know UT wants their students to have a rich and
meaningful experience, and the students are genuinely empowered to do
good if they so choose.”
For Addington, this means taking the risk to be uncomfortable with friends and classmates.
want to inspire students to enact change,” said Addington. “We feel
college student are the answer to creating a world where people are
comfortable starting these conversations. This gives them a platform.”Homepage image courtesy of Courtney Vickers PhotographyJamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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