Community encouraged to explore connections through 'All That WE ARE' event

August 29, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Last January, Stand for State, Penn State’s bystander intervention initiative, held the "All That WE ARE" event, which encouraged students to break down walls about themselves and to connect with other students based off their similarities and differences. Across multiple Penn State campuses staff, faculty and students took part in the event that was inspired by the viral YouTube video, “All That We Share.”

This year, several Student Affairs units, including the LGBTQA Resource Center, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development and the Gender Equity Center, are working together to bring the experience to a larger number of people.

This year’s event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center at University Park. Dinner will be provided for participants after the activity, providing an opportunity for those who connect to continue the conversation. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up at standforstate.psu.edu.

Paul Kane, a recent Penn State graduate, decided to participate in the event after previously having a great first impression of Stand for State.

Kane feels that each participant will get something different out of the event based on their experiences in the world, adding that the one thing you will not walk away with is fear. When the cameras were not rolling, Kane connected with others and realized just how much easier he had it than some of the other participants involved.

“After attending the event, I could clearly see that Stand for State was creating the change I wanted to be a part of at Penn State,” Kane said.

Stand for State Coordinator Katie "Tenny" Marshall said that the event gives participants the opportunity to interact with people that are both similar and different from themselves, all while gaining a broader outlook on others’ life experiences.

Questions involving topics like loneliness and sexual harassment were asked at the most recent event. Marshall said that nearly all participants stepped forward when asked if anybody had a loved one that had been sexually harassed or assaulted, or if they ever felt lonely.

“It’s one thing to know that sexual violence happens and that sometimes you feel lonely and know that others do too, but it’s another thing for people standing next to you acknowledge those experiences. It humanizes and connects us,” Marshall said.  

Kane saw "All That WE ARE" as a display of Stand for State’s values and refused to miss the opportunity to play a part in the organization. After attending the event, Kane reached out to Stand for State and worked five months for the organization.

Marshall hopes that attendees will walk away from the event with newer and deeper perspectives and connections, along with actions they can take in addressing some of the issues talked about during the activity.

“I think students can expect to show up and find that the more they open themselves up, the more significant of an experience they will have,” Marshall said.

Last Updated September 14, 2018