BETHANY, W.Va. – Students in the Bethany College Sophomore Honors Seminar are hosting the Clothesline Project as part of Title IX Awareness Week on campus.

Clothesline ProjectThe Clothesline Project is a national display designed to raise awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence. Each piece of clothing created is a silent exhibit and self-expression of the violence affecting the community.

The display is popular at college campuses across the country.

Kaitlyn Adkins, of Weirton, W.Va.; Joshua Gallagher, of San Antonio; and Lauren Starr, of Venetia, Pa., organized the Bethany display.

“It is such a powerful way to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence, and it is an amazing outlet for people to share their stories and show their support for victims and survivors,” Starr said. “Being a survivor myself, I will do anything to promote awareness and to hopefully stop the problem.”

The artistic element of the Clothesline Project draws people to recognize a very real problem in a way that something like a flyer can’t, Adkins said.

Joshua Gallagher Kaitlyn Adkins Lauren Starr“We’ve had a lot of positive responses,” she said. “Nearly everyone who comes to take a look at it has contributed to the clothesline. Faculty and staff have even participated and commented on how important the message is. We’ve also had peers reach out to us with questions and praise, which has been occurring.”

The main goal of the display is to break the silence and stigma that does not allow survivors to speak out, Starr said.

She hopes to make the Clothesline Project an annual event at Bethany.

“One of my missions in life is to break the fear of speaking up and saying something when it comes to sexual assault and domestic abuse, and bringing the Clothesline Project to Bethany is one step closer to that,” Starr said, noting that she, Adkins, and Gallagher have worked extremely hard to bring the idea to life.

The Clothesline Project is set up in the back of the Cafeteria through Friday. The event is part of Title IX Awareness Week, which focuses on sexual harassment awareness and prevention.

“I am so honored and proud at the amazing turnout and registration for Title IX Awareness Week events. However, I think that the strongest display of Bethanian spirit can be seen in the Clothesline Project exhibit presented by the Sophomore Honors Program students,” said Khali Blankenship, director of student conduct, Title IX coordinator and 504 coordinator. “This incredibly moving display is meant to symbolize unity and to help provide a voice to those on campus that deserve to be heard.”

The spring semester of the Sophomore Honors Seminar is designed around student-led service projects, and the students chose to focus on social justice issues. Their fall seminar focused on comparing the major social and cultural issues of the 1920s and the 2020s.

“The course explored the historical roots of many current social, economic, and racial justice issues,” said Dr. Ian Lanzillotti, seminar adviser and assistant professor of history. “Ultimately, though, I think these students were already socially engaged and had an inherent interest in these issues.”

The seminar meets weekly, but most of the planning is done outside the classroom, he said.

The Clothesline Project is one of three actions promoted by the Sophomore Honors Seminar.

Paisley Travis, of West Finley, Pa.; Natalia Chavez-Brown, of Frederick, Md.; Adam Himmelrick, of Weirton, W.Va.; Noah Gill, of Beach City, Ohio; Ian Nelson, of Monongahela, Pa.; and Danielle Williams, of Sandy Lake, Pa. are working with the Wheeling YWCA to host a series of discussions based on locally produced short films that focus on racism, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and mental illness.

Sophie Morey, of Mount Martha, Victoria, Australia, and Anna Glasure, of Weirton, W.Va., are focused on women’s rights issues. In honor of Women’s History Month, they are running a weekly social media campaign throughout March highlighting prominent and path-breaking women Bethanians. They also plan a tabling event to highlight major U.S. employers that do not have a gender pay gap.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.