There is never an appropriate context for violence in a relationship.

That, according to a press release from Unity College, is a central message of Ask, Listen and Act, a student group at the school that promotes campus-wide education programs designed to promote awareness of health and wellness in all of its forms.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. members of ALA will host an anti-violence program in Tozier Gymnasium on the Unity College campus (90 Quaker Hill Road in Unity). The program is free and open to the general public, though focused on the college community.

Sponsored by ALA and the college’s Harrison Aldrich Wellness Center, the event will feature a variety of activities including presenting students with the opportunity to take a non-violence pledge and, after painting their palms, place their hand print on a banner promoting wellness. The simple yet powerful pledge is: “These hands will not harm another.”

The banner project is also part of the Dean’s Cup, a program run by the Office of Residence Life featuring community building competitions held throughout the academic year. Each student who takes the non-violence pledge and imprints his or her palm on the banner will be registered.

Several area organizations will host information booths including The Humane Society of Waterville, The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, New Hope for Women, and Hardy Girls Healthy Women. Scheduled speakers include Michele Leavitt, attorney, writer, poet and spouse of President Stephen Mulkey; Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Trumble; and Dean for Student Affairs Gary Zane, among others.

“This is a fun event designed to encourage and promote a healthy, nonviolent attitude among the campus community,” said Tiffany DeMell, a captive wildlife care and education major/psychology minor and member of the class of 2015 from Cooperstown, N.Y. According to the press release, DeMell was attracted to Unity College in part because of its positive atmosphere, values that stress the importance of community service, and warm, supportive community.

Mentors to the ALA group include Wellness Center intern Heather Bryant, a University of Maine graduate student who is pursuing a master’s degree in social work; Anna McGalliard, director of student health services; Julie Johnson, clinical counselor; and Carleen Johnson, administrative assistant.

“A healthy and nonviolent environment is critical to the success of any community,” said McGalliard, in the press release. “We want to recognize the positive choices people make every day that support nonviolence.”

Cassandra Alston, a wildlife biology major from Hampton, Va., and a member of the class of 2012, has helped plan the event. She is no stranger to community service. While in high school she volunteered with several community organizations, and most recently she organized a volunteer trip for students to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville.

Bryant, Alston, DeMell and other ALA participants who have organized this event are united in their central message that violence should be confronted, and that there are positive approaches to problem solving.

Other participants in ALA who have helped to organize the event on Feb. 14 are Tasha Iven, a captive wildlife care and education major from St. Louis and a member of the class of 2015, and Dean Sheehan, an adventure therapy major from Ridgefield, Conn. who is also a member of the class of 2015

The event on Feb. 14 is part of ongoing efforts by ALA to bring a discussion of violence, in all of its forms, to the forefront within the Unity College community.

Commitment to the cause is not lacking among ALA participants, who have pursued other successful, often creative activities designed to diminish stigma and build peer support. One activity featured a body paint question on the back of one’s hand with the simple question “ask?” When students inquired about the point, the ALA member would engage them in a conversation about mental health and available services on campus.

“Our hopes for the future include really getting our message out there,” said Iven, in the press release. “We are letting everyone in this community know that there is support at every turn. Also, our message includes educating the community about the ways to address conflict that are positive.”