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Feb. 23, 2018

Sigma Sigma Sigma sets activities for Karen Hawkins Memorial Week

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Northwest Missouri State University’s Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority will host a week of activities to educate others about sexual assault while remembering a student and sorority member killed nearly 23 years ago.

“’Karen Hawkins Memorial Week’ is about honoring the memory of our sister who went through something unimaginable as well as bringing awareness to ending sexual assault,” Annelise Puett, Sigma Sigma Sigma’s philanthropy chair, said. “We want everyone to know the resources they have around them and learn ways to defend themselves if they were ever caught in the same situation.”

Karen Hawkins, a Maryville native, Northwest student and Sigma Sigma Sigma member, was sexually assaulted and killed in April 1995 by a man she had known since high school. Since her death, the sorority has annually organized Karen Hawkins Memorial Week, and the Karen Hawkins Memorial Peace Pavilion at the northwest bank of Colden Pond is named in her honor.

The memorial week begins with a presentation by Nodaway County Sheriff Randy Strong at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. Strong, a detective on Hawkins’ case, will discuss the investigation and provide the audience with tips to protect themselves from sexual assault.

After the lecture, from 8 to 9 p.m. in the Martindale Gymnasium, the University Police Department offers a self-defense class.

The sorority will host a “Cookout for Karen” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at the Raymond J. Courter College Park Pavilion to benefit the Children and Family Center of Northwest Missouri. The sorority, with the University Police Department and Nodaway County Sheriff’s Department, will serve hamburgers, hot dogs, sides, dessert and water or lemonade. Tickets are available for $3 between March 5 and March 7 at the information tables in the J.W. Jones Student Union or for $5 at the event. The cookout also will feature outdoor games, a photobooth and silent auction.

The memorial week culminates with Sigma Sigma Sigma’s annual Silent Walk at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, beginning at the Memorial Bell Tower. Each year, the sorority organizes the walk to raise awareness of the effects of sexual assault while honoring Hawkins’ memory.

All of the week’s activities are co-sponsored by the University Police Department and Nodaway County Sheriff’s Department and open to the public.

For more information, contact Annelise Puett at


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