Alpha Psi Omega honorary supports nonprofit through charity performance

Ingrid Schmidt

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Ashland University’s Theatre Honorary, Alpha Psi Omega, wrapped up their 2015-2016 season with the charity performance of The Vagina Monologues on April 1 in the Studio Theater.

The Vagina Monologues were written by Eve Ensler in 1996 and have been inspiring women ever since. Alpha Psi Omega wanted to bring this powerful piece of theatre to AU.

“We loved the message, and we wanted something to do with our philanthropy for the year, which was giving back to the Ashland Rape Crisis Center,” said APO president and producer of The Vagina Monologues Elizabeth Davis.

Although tickets to The Vagina Monologues were free, donations of cash, beauty and household supplies were collected at the door and went to The Ashland Rape Crisis Center. The group raised $350 and over 200 beauty and household items.

“Any donations that the shelter gets is a huge deal to them because they’re a nonprofit,” said Davis. “They’re focused on giving back to the community and providing a safe haven for individuals.”

Davis has volunteered at Rape Crisis Centers in the past and has seen how much the donations help women in need.

“Women, when they arrive at the shelter, they don’t have anything with them,” said Davis. “They come with the clothes on their backs and maybe if they’re lucky a backpack of some sort. So, to get something as simple as a toothbrush makes a world of difference; they feel human again.”

APO was pleased with the amount of money and supplies they collected at the performances, and were thrilled to be able to give back to such a deserving organization.

“The fact that we were able to donate to that cause, and be able to make someone feel like they’re worth something, even just for 5 minutes while they brush their teeth, means the world to our group,” said Davis.

People involved with The Ashland Rape Crisis Center were invited to come to the shows. Davis was pleased with all of the support, both from people involved with the Center and other audience members.

“We had a very supportive community going into it. The Rape Crisis Center brought over a lot of individuals: volunteers that they had, victims that they worked with closely, a lot of their counselors,” said Davis. “We were able to have a community feel where people were very supportive, very understanding that these sorts of things happen.”

APO’s production of The Vagina Monologues did more than just raising money for the shelter. It also raised awareness for serious issues around campus.

Seth Morrison, the production manager for The Vagina Monologues, said that he was amazed by the turn out for the two performances.

“It was for a cause that I strongly believe in and I think it raised a lot of awareness,” said Morrison. “I got almost all positive feedback.”

APO was excited to have AU students see the production, as they felt it helped the audience to see these issues in a new light.

“I think the students that came to see the production were kind of shocked that we had done a piece about vaginas, but were also very intrigued,” said Davis. “There is a rape culture in our society and having students understand that, that culture is unacceptable is something that we were very passionate about doing.”

The spectators were not the only people that were touched by APO’s production of The Vagina Monologues. The cast and crew were also affected by the messages in the show.

“I definitely feel like the students involved had the opportunity to live through a different character,” said Davis. “They had the opportunity to experience something that most of them hadn’t gone through, but they know friends that had gone through these sorts of things.”

Davis felt it was a positive experience for everyone involved. She felt that it was important for AU Theatre students to have a chance to expand their horizons.

“It was nice to have the students do a piece that was pushing the envelope in that way,” said Davis. “No one talks about vaginas in Ashland, Ohio, or at least they don’t normally talk about vaginas in Ashland, Ohio.”

Davis and everyone involved with APO is pleased with the positive results from the show. The group hopes to continue supporting incredible causes like the Ashland Rape Crisis Center in the future.

“We are very proud of the production that we did, and we’re proud of the community for coming out and supporting us,” said Davis. “We’re very excited to see where this takes us.”

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