Senior Sam Coffey and junior Clare Colt say that the “It’s On Us” program is unique because it is a completely student-led initiative focused on ending sexual assault.
“The thing that really struck me is this idea that it’s student-run and student-led. It’s not run by administration,” Colt said.
Coffey decided to bring the initiative to campus after he heard about it while interning at the White House over the summer. After seeing a presentation on the campaign, he wanted to bring it to Knox. “It’s On Us” focuses on educating community members about being active bystanders in order to prevent sexual assault.
“While we are supported by the administration, it’s in our hands what we accomplish with this initiative,” he said.
The program is run by the institution Generation Progress and is backed by members of White House staff. To get involved, students can take a pledge on the program’s website, itsonus.org.
“Something as simple as taking a pledge can serve as a reminder so that when you are in a situation where you feel like maybe you should step in, hopefully it comes to mind,” Colt said. “That’s sort of an extra step that you took that will help you in the future to step up to the plate.”
Colt and Coffey, who have been the main organizers in bringing the campaign to Knox, estimated that approximately 200 students have taken the pledge since the start of Fall Term. They plan to table in Seymour Gallery before the end of the term with laptops so students can take the pledge as they pass through the hallway.
Both are members of sports teams, and so began to recruit students to take the pledge by talking to their teammates and other students involved in athletics. They also targeted members of Greek Life as a way to get people involved. They hope that by piquing interest in clubs and campus organizations, the campaign will spread to other facets of campus.
“The main idea is to spread awareness and let it permeate throughout the college community,” Coffey said. “That’s been the most effective tool for ‘It’s On Us.’”
The campaign has also received the sponsorship of Student Senate after Coffey and Colt spoke to the general assembly at the first meeting of the term.
Coffey dubbed Fall Term as “phase one” of the campaign and said that the main focus so far has been building awareness that the program exists. In Winter and Spring Terms, he hopes to bring more comprehensive programs to campus, such as active bystander training.
He hopes to make the program a fixture in the campus that exists long after he and Colt graduate.
The progress made this term has been building toward a week of action that will occur from Nov. 8-14. Coffey said that his team is currently in the process of securing a guest speaker as one of the main events for the week.