Blue Out for Child Abuse Prevention
A viral grassroots activism campaign
A few details
I, with fellow graduate student Stuart Shapiro, founded and organized the first and largest public response to the Sandusky/Penn State scandal. Stuart and I campaigned to have all fans wear blue, the color of ribbons displayed in support of child abuse awareness, to “Blue Out” Beaver Stadium for the Penn State Football game against Nebraska on Nov. 12, 2011.
The idea originated just six days before the game, when Stuart brought the news of Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse charges to my attention. Previously I had taken “Arts Across the Curriculum,” a course that stresses how art and visual culture can foster positive social interactions. I looked up the awareness ribbon color for child abuse prevention and realized its potential significance. We began utilizing new and social media as well as traditional outlets to spread the idea. We combined forces with Therese Jones, a Penn State alum now studying at UC Berkley, who created a Facebook event page for the game. I also approached McClanahan’s (a local apparel store) and designed a Blue Out t-shirt, which they sold and donated all proceeds to charity. In total, $47,000 was raised for charity — $25,000 was donated by McLanahan’s to Prevent Child Abuse PA, and $22,000 was collected at the game through canning and split between Prevent Child Abuse PA and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
How I solved it
To continue our efforts, Stuart and I began working with the newly-created One Heart student organization to continue to provide activism support. We held a second Blue Out event on September 22, 2012, which raised over $79,000, and additional events have been held annually, bringing our current total donations to over $156,000. Please visit blueout.org for more information and how to become involved with current Blue Out efforts.
Raised for child abuse prevention non-profits
Days between idea and fruition