KPU Shows its Colours for Pink Shirt Day

The Canada-wide anti-bullying campaign is celebrating its 10th year

Dozens of members of the KPU community gather in Surrey Main for a group photo on “Pink Shirt Day.” Their shirts read “Nice Needs No Filter” (Submitted).

If you saw more people than usual wearing pink on Feb. 28, it wasn’t a new fashion trend or an elaborate reference to Mean Girls, but rather an awareness campaign that aims to address bullying in everyday life.

Pink Shirt Day has been occurring every February for the past 10 years. Its founders created the campaign to raise awareness of the effects that bullying can have on people and to fundraise for anti-bullying initiatives.

Matt Hunt, Event Coordinator for the Kwantlen Student Association, chose to bring the campaign to KPU this year because he believes that “bullying is maybe more of a problem than it’s ever been.”

“Bullying itself is still a massive problem everywhere we go, from adulthood right down to kindergarten,” Hunt says.

Pink Shirt Day is a cause that Hunt is passionate about because his parents work for the CKNW Orphans Fund and helped get the initiative off the ground in British Columbia with the help of Christy Clark.

As part of the campaign, the KSA gave away 300 pink shirts before the 28th so that people would have their own to wear. Hunt says the shirts were going to be dispersed as part of a fundraiser in the KPU Surrey courtyard on the 27th, but was pleasantly surprised when all 300 shirts sold out in only 30 minutes.

The following day, a group photo of members of the university community wearing pink shirts was taken in the Surrey Main Atrium as well.

Hunt says that, by handing out shirts in the courtyard or seeing people participating in Pink Shirt Day, the volunteers were able to spread awareness throughout the university community.

“I just hope that through seeing hopefully more than just one out of every 20 [people] wearing pink, hopefully you’ll see one out of every five [people], and it’ll just make people think that don’t know about the day, or don’t know what it is, that it’ll give them more of a reason to be like, ‘Hmm, why is everyone in pink today?’”

The funds raised go to the CKNW Orphans Fund, who then disburse it to various anti-bullying campaigns. While the KSA and other KPU departments had separate fundraisers for Pink Shirt Day, Hunt was optimistic that gathering everyone together for the group photo would be a “good way to come together and [show] that we’re many people supporting it at the university.”

Hunt also hopes that, with the success of this year’s Pink Shirt Day, he’ll be able to continue the initiative at KPU in the coming years.

“Just because Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 28 doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to promote and to push and to lead by example on the rest of the 364 days of the year,” he says.

Hunt says the world of bullying has changed recently. Before, bullies would harass someone face-to-face on the schoolyard, but now they can hide behind a cell phone screen or on social media. Often, bullying is a severe problem that many people don’t realize is problematic until it’s too late. In addition, many people feel the need to harshly and unfairly criticize each other, only exacerbating the problem, Hunt explains.

“I think it’s wonderful to spread the word to not judge people, to let people be who they are, because we’re all beautiful individuals in our own way,” says Hunt. “Pink Shirt Day is one day but it doesn’t mean it should be the only day that you stick up for yourself, or you stick up for your friends or your family…. It’s a change that needs to happen year-round.”

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