BALTIMORE -- Students, faculty and administrators gathered at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to launch the Red Flag Campaign, an award-winning program designed to curb incidents of dating violence. The campaign is being sponsored with a $25,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation. Proceeds from the grant also will be used to support UMBC's Violence Prevention Advocates Program.
"We are grateful to Verizon for this generous grant to help us address a critically important health issue that affects people from all walks of life. UMBC is a community that cares, and we strongly support the Red Flag Campaign, which encourages us to 'say something' when we observe behaviors that don't seem right, or when we are concerned about a friend's or colleague's health or well being. We encourage all members of the UMBC community to be knowledgeable about relationship violence and to be committed to preventing it.
Melanie Ortel, associate director of public relations for Verizon Wireless in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, said, "The Yeardley Love tragedy was a wake-up call for all of us. The Red Flag Campaign challenges students to watch out for friends who may be involved in an unhealthy relationship, and we're proud to bring the award-winning Red Flag Campaign to the students of UMBC."
Developed in 2007 by college students, college personnel and community victim advocates to explore the nature of dating relationships on college campuses and to identify the hallmarks of healthy relationships versus abusive ones, the Red Flag Campaign receives funding from the Verizon Foundation and Verizon Wireless' HopeLine ® program. The campaign appears on more than 100 college campuses across the U.S., including the University of Maryland College Park, and Howard and Georgetown universities in Washington, D.C.
Campaign posters, which feature young men and women who look like typical students, deal with a number of "red flags" that students should be aware of, including emotional abuse, isolation, coercion and excessive jealousy. Three of the posters are geared toward female students, and three toward male students. In order to heighten interest and generate more attention, the red flags were dropped on the grounds of UMBC prior to the launch event, without warning or explanation, followed by the posters.
Since it was launched nationwide in 2001, Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program has collected more than 7 million phones and awarded more than $7.9 million in cash grants. No-longer-used wireless phones – all models, from all wireless carriers – are collected and accessories are refurbished, recycled or sold. Proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence through grants and the donation of wireless phones and service. Phones are accepted at Verizon Wireless stores across the nation and on UMBC's campus in The Commons.
About the Red Flag Campaign
The purpose of the Red Flag Campaign is to encourage students to speak up when they see the red flags of dating violence in their friends' relationships. Supplementing the poster series is the Red Flag Campaign website, www.TheRedFlagCampaign.org, which offers resources for students and campus personnel wanting to learn more about dating violence and how to help. Schools participating in the Red Flag Campaign also receive an extensive Campus Planning Guide on CD, which helps campus planners incorporate the Red Flag Campaign materials into campus programming.