Flash mobs erupted across campus Thursday, though many students were unaware why.
For the second year, Central Michigan University’s One Billion Rising for Justice teamed up with Take Back the Night to raise awareness for domestic violence by breaking out a choreographed dance. Both organizations are part of international movements dedicated to end violence against women, and the flash mobs at CMU represent the dance-focused awareness efforts of One Billion Rising.
Ohio junior Emma Tuthill organized this year’s flash mobs and brought One Billion Rising to CMU last year after discovering the organization online.
“What appeals to me about One Billion Rising is that art can tend to be more universal than other forms of awareness,” Tuthill said. “Last year, 207 countries participated in One Billion Rising, which is pretty awesome. So it just kind of shows how many people in that many countries really care about this issue.”
The flash mobs grabbed the attention of students, many of whom immediately started snapping pictures or recording videos on their phones. At Thursday’s performances, however, many students were in the dark when it came to the meaning behind the dances.
Saline junior Abby Boerema said the flash mob initially confused her, and she had no idea the participants were dancing for such a serious reason.
“It’s definitely important because I think a lot of students on our campus are unaware of it, like myself,” Boerema said.
Among the dancers was Officer Laura Rico of the CMU Police Department.
A long-time member of Take Back the Night, Rico was approached by Tuthill to participate in the flash mobs and gave them her full support.
“I think the students are our future,” Rico said. “Obviously that’s why they’re here, to educate themselves to become our leaders for tomorrow. If they change their mindset about violence, then that’s going to change society.”