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Greek life members gather at the Memorial Bell Tower for a Greek-meet-and-greet. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Greek life members gather at the Memorial Bell Tower for a Greek-meet-and-greet. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

March 3, 2022

Annual Karen Hawkins Memorial Week events March 21-25

By Patrick Glenn, communication assistant

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 27 years ago.

“The Karen Hawkins Memorial Week serves as a way to not only honor our sister, Karen Hawkins, but educate others on preventing sexual assault and domestic violence,” Anna Hart, Sigma Sigma Sigma philanthropy chair and a freshman psychology major from Elkhorn, Nebraska, said. “Sexual assault is a serious problem that can completely alter one’s health, well-being and overall livelihood. It can truly affect any community or area, including our own town and school. Education is the first step to combating sexual assault, which is provided in each event during Karen Hawkins Memorial Week.”

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 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. Strong, a detective on Hawkins’ case, will provide attendees with tips to protect themselves from sexual assault. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the presentation.

“Even in the safest of towns, you have to be reminded that you can never let your guard down and think nothing like that can happen to you,” Kristin Little, Northwest’s campus visit coordinator and a friend of Hawkins, said. “It does, and it can happen at any time. Getting the word out is so very important.”

From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Boardroom, the University Police Department will offer a self-defense class led by University Police Officer Kristina Martinez.

Sigma Sigma Sigma’s annual Silent Walk will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at the Memorial Bell Tower and end at Colden Pond. Each year, the sorority organizes the walk to raise awareness of the effects of sexual assault while honoring Hawkins’ memory.

The memorial week culminates March 23 with Cheesin’ for Karen after the Silent Walk. Walking tacos will be served in the Student Union Ballroom. Tickets may be purchased from March 14 through March 18 at the Student Union’s second floor information tables and on the night of the event for $5.

Additionally, to assist women and families in need, Sigma Sigma Sigma has partnered with North Star Advocacy Center in Maryville on a donation drive. Individuals may support the “Little Luxuries Drive” by placing items in a bin located in the Office of Student Involvement; click here to view a list of needed items.

“North Star serves as a light for many families in Maryville who are undergoing many situations that we cannot fathom,” Hart said. “Our small acts of service or contributions will decrease the amount of work or stress on North Star.”

For more information about Karen Hawkins Memorial Week, contact Hart at


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215