Quinnipiac students stand up and take the pledge to Defend the Den

October 16, 2023

Students rally together cheering and raising their hands

Defend the Den echoes an important message about protecting the Quinnipiac community, one Bobcat at a time.  

Founded in spring of 2023 with the help of The Agency, a student-run strategic communications firm, and Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Stephen Sweet, Defend the Den is a student-led organization with the mission of empowering students to speak up in challenging situations. These include but are not limited to bullying, sexual harassment, bias-related incidents, mental health and substance abuse.

“Quinnipiac’s mission statement includes the ideas that we are a community that embraces positive change, inclusive excellence, kindness and generosity of spirit, with a commitment to lift the communities in which we live,” said Sweet. “The mission of Defend the Den is similar, and encourages our community to look out for one another, and take care of our fellow Bobcats through bystander intervention.”

The campaign is centered around a psychological theory called the "bystander effect." This theory is based on the idea that in a group setting, someone is less likely to intervene when they are in the presence of others.

By understanding the bystander effect, Defend the Den aims to educate students how to speak up, stand up and defend the den. The project encourages students to practice the 3 Ds: Direct, Distract and Delegate in order to foster a positive campus culture where Bobcats can rely on each other.

“I am so proud that students at Quinnipiac care so much about the health and safety of their peers,” said Sweet. “The effort that went into creating Defend the Den is a testament to the values of the Quinnipiac community.”

Sweet brought his ideas to The Agency hoping the organization could bring his ideas to life. The Agency took Sweet on as a full-time client and created the brand, name and logo for the campaign.

Two professionals enrolled in The Agency, Isabella Baird ’24 and Brianna McEldowney ’23, MS ’24, took this project in with open arms, becoming the confounders of Defend the Den.

“College is a new beginning for everyone who steps foot on campus,” said Baird. “Developing Defend the Den has not only become my footprint on campus, but a resource to make sure students understand how to be safe while experiencing everything college has to offer.”  

McEldowney added by expressing her excitement for the future of the project.

“Defend the Den reminds students of all the campus resources and how to mediate in a difficult situation,” said McEldowney. “I’m excited to see the future of the new initiative and see how it imprints a positive impact at Quinnipiac.”

The initiative has continued to grow and flourish since its founding and is still run entirely by The Agency.

As the current senior account executive, Natalia Liberato ’24, and account executive, Khearwoot In ’24, continue to further Defend the Den’s future, they have designed strategic initiatives to spread the word of the campaign and create a campus culture that is kinder and more supportive.

“Defend the Den is something that will continue to have a positive impact for everybody at Quinnipiac for decades to come and I am privileged to be a part of its beginnings,” said Liberato.

All students can join Defend the Den’s mission by participating in training, attending events and following the project on Instagram (@defendthedenqu).

The organization will be hosting its first ever trivia night on October 18 at 7 p.m. at On the Rocks for students to learn more about how they can support the Bobcat community.

Defend the Den additionally offers leadership opportunities for students looking to serve as ambassadors for the campaign. Students who are interested in becoming leaders can email defendtheden@qu.edu.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now