Zoe Knight may be new to campus, but she already has big plans underway.
Knight, a student in the Foundation Year Program, was recently hired to work with King’s Sexual Health and Safety Officer (SHSO) as the student educator. While starting university and diving headfirst into a new job has been a big adjustment, she’s optimistic and looks forward to what the future brings.
The role of student educator—formerly the sexualized violence policy student liaison (SVPSL)—works with SHSO Jordan Roberts to educate students on sexualized violence prevention and to increase awareness of King’s Sexualized Violence Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy.
King’s adopted its Sexualized Violence Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy in 2018. When it hired Roberts one year later in a role originally called the Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer, it was one of the first universities in the province to hire a full-time officer. Since then, Roberts’ role and the student position that supports that work have been renamed as the SHSO and student educator.
Roberts explains that the change reflects how roles like hers have become more common on campuses as a result of the policies they help to educate about.
“Now, the student educator is really kind of meant to do the next step,” she says. “So, what discussions or conversations, what spaces, what feedback needs to exist that can make these policies not just documents, but kind of alive on campus?”
Knight’s role differs from Roberts in that she doesn’t handle disclosures or help students navigate personal issues. Rather, she strives to bridge the gap between the institution and her fellow students through programming, activities, campaigns and initiatives.
“I want to amplify safety at our school,” Knight says. “You know, partying and going out is great, but I also want people to know that there are resources that they can come to, like Jordan…I think my role is more to encourage people to be safe, to really be a part of the community and just have a good experience overall.”
To do this, Knight has been working to coordinate events she hopes all King’s students can find enjoyable. As someone relatively new to the King’s community, she understands that sometimes, participation in events can be daunting. She says the most important thing she’s learned so far is to create spaces where people can feel comfortable showing up, even if they’re alone.
That’s why her first event is focused on zines. Zines are small, self-published collections of poetry, creative writing, collages, drawings, comics and articles compiled into handmade books.
Knight loves creating art and making zines is one of her passions. The culture around zine-making, she says, is zero-judgement, which is why she believes it would be a perfect campus event. She’s been excited about incorporating them into this role since she got the job.
“You can be as outrageous, weird, or compassionate as you want when you make a zine. It doesn’t have to be perfect or have meaning like some people assume art should.”
Knight’s zine-making workshop is taking place on November 3 at 5 p.m. in the Wardroom. Music, pizza, supplies and help getting started will be provided. The event will also serve as a space for students to talk with Knight about what they’d like to see happen in the coming year.
“Not only is this workshop a great way to provide a safe and inclusive space for artistic expression, but it is a great way for me, as student educator, to engage with other King’s students and hear what sort of things they want to see happen around campus,” she says.
Roberts says it’s been wonderful working with Knight this year and looks forward to seeing what other ideas she has in store.
“It’s been really great seeing Zoe come in and say, ‘These are the things I’m passionate about, these are the things I love to do.’…Her own individual passions have just been really creative,” Roberts says. “Here we are in the fourth year [of this position], and she’s doing things that haven’t been done before and creating events that haven’t happened at Kings before.”