The Community Investment Collaborative office is an open and creative space, located on 401 E. Market Street, across from the Downtown Mall.

Story and photos by: Michelle Cho

For the past few weeks, Iris Magazine has been introducing you to some of Charlottesville’s best and brightest female entrepreneurial minds. Fighting some pretty steep odds, these women have taken us through the highs and lows, the failures and successes, of their personal journeys of starting their own businesses. Although each woman and each idea are quite distinct, the common thread that unites all of these very different stories together is the group that has been cheering hardest for them

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Story by: Carly Gorelick

The Red Zone, the first three months of the school year, marks the time where 50 percent of all reported campus sexual assaults are said to occur. According to the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study funded by the National Institute of Justice, most of these assaults are directed toward first and second-year females. This fact, coupled with the struggle first-years already incur by being placed in a new environment, has encouraged coordinators of Hoos Got Your Back to account for the disproportionately high influence the Red Zone has on the first-years in our community.

The campaign has set out to be proactive on the matter. They presented their campaign video at a first-year safety orientation meeting at the beginning of the semester. Like student organizers Will Cadigan and Emily Renda have noted, these educational

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Fashion and feminism

Story by: Olivia Knott

A conveniently pleasant sounding alliteration or a powerful combination of social and artistic forces?

As Spring/Summer 2015 fashion week, when hundreds of fashion shows occur in several cities of the world between September and October, came to an end in Paris, Chanel managed to capture the spotlight, not for their usual tweed and quilted handbags, but for a full-on runway protest. Imagine tweed, quilted handbags and picket signs referencing current events such as Emma Watson’s “He For She” campaign speech or slogans such as “History is Her Story” and the ridiculous “Boys should get pregnant too.”

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Photo by Agnes Filipowski
Fourth-year students and LGBTA activists Greg Lewis and Anna Boynton, along with other U.Va. students and Charlottesville community members speak out at a rally in front of the Rotunda on Sept. 26.

Story by: Carly Gorelick

The Hoos Got Your Back initiative recently launched this fall at U.Va. in light of state and national campaigns to address sexual assault on college campuses.  Coordinators of the initiative have teamed up with Corner merchants like Take It Away Sandwich Shop and student organizations on Grounds like One Less. So far, Hoos Got Your Back has expansive recognition among students. This blog post is the first in a series that hopes to follow and document the journey of Hoos Got Your Back as it continues to improve bystander awareness at and around U.Va. and to promote a deservedly safer environment for all members of the community.


“Hoos Got Your Back” or #HoosGotYourBack has become a familiar slogan among the U.Va. community this fall semester. We read the words on the backs of Corner employees’ T-shirts, see it referenced in emails from administration, and can even see the effect of this bystander awareness campaign on many different organizations on Grounds. However, “Hoos Got Your Back” has a far more expansive influence than its hashtag.

The campaign is a part of the overarching initiative titled “Not On Our Grounds: A University of Virginia Initiative to End Sexual Violence.” Amidst a setting of growing national and state awareness of sexual misconduct in higher education, and the local tragedies of the missing student, Hannah Graham, and other reported assaults in Charlottesville, the campaign is designed to improve the overall safety of the University. Particularly, “Hoos Got Your Back” aims to improve bystander awareness, a goal that many merchants, faculty and student organizers find to be particularly integral to combatting sexual misconduct on and around

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Story by: Helen McLaughlin

For as long as I’ve lived in Charlottesville, the Downtown Mall has been my home.

It’s also been my office, my playground, my gym and my church. I’ve fallen in love on the Mall, I’ve cried with a friend on the Mall, and I’ve had too much to drink on the Mall. The barista at Cafe Cubano knows I like my latte hot, even throughout the summer. The Tibetan woman who sells beaded necklaces, wispy scarves and sundresses knows that my daily jog will begin just after I pass her table. After all these years, the busker with the harmonica who sits on an overturned bucket still won’t smile at me when I pass, but I think of him as a neighbor anyway. My longest Charlottesville relationship is with this special, eight-block stretch of brick and concrete.

In the wake of Hannah Graham’s abduction, the Downtown Mall — my Downtown Mall — has felt significantly less like home.

WOMEN ABOUT (down)TOWN is a new blog series on Iris, focused on reclaiming our perception of Downtown Charlottesville as a community of and for women. Small business owners, restaurateurs, independent artists and artisans alike — our Mall is a place where women are making significant contributions to Charlottesville’s culture, commerce and culinary diversity. It’s a place many

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