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Seminar Encourages Student Safety Skills

Nine years ago, Eastern Illinois University student Shannon McNamara was brutally murdered in her apartment.
Since then, her sorority sister, Erin Weed, has been speaking at college campuses across the country
to prevent such a tragedy from occurring a second time. 
This week, Weed came to Bradley. Weed has been featured on CNN, the CBS Early Show, New York Times, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few.
In 2006, she was named one of New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s “30 under 30.” In 2009, she won “Best Female Performer” by Campus Activities Magazine.
When Weed spoke in Neumiller Hall Monday night, a handful of students showed up, curious to hear what Weed had to say.
Using a sense of humor and a big personality, Weed taught students
the three steps to living a safer life on campus.
First, trust intuition, second, be a good bystander, and third, learn to fight back.
Tentative about the presentation
at first, freshmen communications
major Emily Wolfe and art education major Karson Mayer said they attended because it was “required by our EHS class.”
Wolfe had a vague idea that the presentation was “about self-defense.”
Within the first ten minutes of the lecture, Weed referenced the movie, “The Matrix,” comparing herself to Neo when he discovers the darkness of the real world.
“That’s when I realized, we have to change this, we have to fight back,” she said.
Weed used a simple powerpoint
and humor to keep students listening.
“If someone does choose you,” said Weed, “You should know how to open up a can of whoop ass!”
Weed talked about learning defense moves for the first time in an FBI training facility. She said she felt like she no longer had “to call my daddy, my boyfriend, or 911,” after going through training.
Weed used some surprising statistics
to stress the importance of knowing how to defend yourself. According to the powerpoint, 10 percent of male students and five percent of female students report experiencing a threat or injury with a weapon on school property.
Soon the fun part came: the demonstration.
“What I want to teach you right now is called ‘bad-ass ballet,’ ” said Weed.
Students in the audience were able to stand up and try the moves in their seat, repeating the procedure
aloud with Weed.
After the presentation, Mayer and Wolfe said they were glad they had attended.
“l liked that it incorporated humor, and that we physically did the moves.” said Wolfe. She said she feels “more prepared walking alone.”
“It was entertaining and informative,”
Mayor said. “I learned at least the basics.”
Weed’s passion for protection and self-defense showed throughout
the lecture.
Although she makes her living by performing campus-to-campus, Weed has made her entire presentation
viewable online for free, at the Girls Fight Back website at
“Just the fact that you were all here today,” she said. “I think you’re going to be a lot more safe.”
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