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It’s On Us committee iniative seeks student action

By Emily HassettSpecial to the chronicle Nov. 9 marked the beginning of a Week of Action launched by Hofstra’s sexual assault prevention entity, the It’s On Us committee. Throughout the week, Hofstra hosted speakers, conferences, film screenings and workshops for students. For one of the events, Anthony Zenkus, director of education for The Safe Center LI, came to speak about sexual assault in a conversational way that could engage and include students in the topic. The It’s On Us Campaign was launched by the White House in Sep. 2014, in an effort to prevent sexual assault and violence, specifically on college campuses. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden initiated the campaign to raise public awareness and education on the important topic. According to the White House, “The campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault in the first place.” In response to the White House initiative, many universities across the nation created their own campaigns to advance the cause. The It’s On Us committee at Hofstra holds meetings every other Tuesday to further their campaign and emphasize to students the reality of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. The It’s On Us Week of Action is aimed specifically at raising a higher level of awareness on college campuses over the course of one week to advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Another initiative that the It’s On Us committee has been working on for the Week of Action is a Solo cup campaign, which features the cups strategically placed on a fence that will “represent the percentage of our population that would, statistically, be affected by sexual assault or sexual misconduct,” according to Claudia Andrade, director of student advocacy and prevention awareness at Hofstra. The campaign was approved on Nov. 10. In order for the campaign to be successful, student participation is crucial. “Students can get involved in many different ways and I think that coming to It’s On Us meetings is a good start,” said Karla Bradley, a senior women’s studies and sociology double major. Kymberly Kleemann, a junior RTVF major agreed. “I would attend an It’s On Us meeting because I think it’s important that the students have a voice and acknowledge that sexual assault can happen to anyone at any time,” she said. While the Week of Action is an important one for the It’s On Us campaign, the committee will not be stopping there. Currently, the committee is working on developing a panel discussion that will be led by Bradley, which will gauge student response through questions regarding sexual assault. This panel is going to be held in December. While the fall semester is dwindling down, the It’s On Us committee is beginning to plan for the spring semester by using the information that they gather from the student-run panel discussion. Bradley feels that without the involvement of students, the campaigns will not have the impact it should. She said, “I think that It’s On Us will only succeed if students are a part of the conversation. This is our community and if we’re not at the table for these conversations, then It’s On Us doesn’t really have the information as a committee that it needs to develop programming that’s effective for our campus.”

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