McCleary Chapel hosted a Human Trafficking Awareness Concert on March 18 from 7 to 10 p.m. in UIndy Hall A.
The event featured two local bands as well as a speaker from Purchased, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness about human trafficking.
The Purchased spokesperson informed students of ways that they can get involved and spread the message.
Craig Westberry, sophomore psychology and religion major and Chapel Steward of Justice, organized the campus-wide event with the help of the UIndy Keys Club President and junior psychology pre-occupational therapy major Michaela Thomas.
“As an intern at Purchased, it was my job to facilitate events to raise awareness, and I decided that this would be a great way to reach out and educate an audience,” Westberry said.
Both of the bands featured students from the University of Indianapolis. Nation Ever Changed started the evening with some of the group’s hits. Junior criminal justice major Grant Koenig performed with his band.
“It was great to be able to perform at an event that raised awareness for a cause, rather than a regular concert,” Koenig said.
Between band performances, a representative from Purchased spoke on the importance of educating people about human trafficking.
The Lasting Hope then performed. Junior communication major Craig Banister is the guitar player for The Lasting Hope.
“It was really cool to be able to play in front of my friends,” Banister said.
Logan Oakes, lead singer for The Lasting Hope, also was grateful to be playing at UIndy.
“Anytime we can come out and support other ministries or other groups that are doing something meaningful, it’s really awesome,” Oakes said.
The Lasting Hope bass player, Tanner Marling, was equally excited.
“It’s a great cause, and we’d love to be a part of more events like this,” Marling said.
Students, faculty and fans demonstrated enthusiasm throughout the night by responding to cues from the bands. Not only were students able to hear music, but they were informed about human trafficking.
Senior criminal justice major Matt Mellencamp enjoyed his time at the event and said he learned about a serious issue.
“I didn’t know very much about human trafficking, but this event really opened my eyes,” he said. “I think that other students learned something, too, and that awareness was spread tonight.”
While the turnout was not large, Westberry was happy with the results of the event.
“I hope that this event taught students to be open to doing something that benefits society,” Westberry said. “If [ending] human trafficking is that passion, then they should know that there are organizations like Purchased out there to help them.”