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Student government launches It’s On Us campaign

| Friday, January 23, 2015

ItsOnUsCampaign_Erin Rice | The Observer

Thursday evening, the Notre Dame student government hosted a training session for those interested in volunteering for the “It’s On Us” campaign on sexual assault awareness and prevention.

“The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign is a campus-wide movement to change the way we view sexual assault on our campus,” sophomore Kristen Loehle, student government’s director of gender issues, said. “It calls all members of our community to actively create a positive environment that prevents sexual violence by looking out for one another, intervening when necessary and spreading awareness.”

The Notre Dame campaign is part of a nationwide “It’s On Us” initiative, which the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault launched in Sept. 2014. According to a White House fact sheet, “It’s On Us” takes its name from the notion of communal responsibility for all cases of sexual assault and aims to create a safer communities at universities.

“It’s On Us is a national campaign that we have tailored to reflect the values of our Notre Dame community,” Loehle said. “We focused on being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers and aimed to reach out to all different voices that make up our community.”

Loehle said beginning Monday, student volunteers will distribute pledge cards to dorms and in facility building across campus, similar to those distributed during the “One Is Too Many” campaign last year. She said the pledge cards will hang in the dorms as a demonstration of Notre Dame’s support for sexual assualt awareness.

“I’m excited for this very visible commitment that we will all be making to one another, and hope it drives participation in sexual assault education, a culture of respect in our dorms and an understanding of the reporting and support structures that exist on campus,” junior Bryan Ricketts, a Gender Relations Center FIRE Starter and participant in “It’s On Us,” said.

Rickets said the initiative is a way for students to become involved in sexual assault prevention on an individual level.

“The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign is a way to bring the conversation about sexual assault back to what each of us can do to protect our friends, classmates and peers,” he said. “It’s about creating a culture of love and responsibility where respect for others, intervention in dangerous situations and support for those who are victims of sexual assault are the norm.”

Ricketts said he hopes the University and its students will support the initiative.

“We want to attend school at a place that helps to change entitlement into respect, harm into help and victims into survivors,” he said. “Notre Dame, both as an institution and as a student body, will need to take further steps, such as increasing resource accessibility, but this campaign is an important part of the transition from education to action.”

Loehle said while the campaign is national, the issues still remain local.

“There is overwhelming support for this cause at Notre Dame and it has been inspiring to see such a strong response throughout this process,” she said. “We want to make sure that every student and every place is safe here at Notre Dame.”

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Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall and is currently serving as an Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

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