Sacred Heart University has joined the national campaign, It’s On Us, to raise awareness of camps sexual assault and put an end to it.
The White House developed It’s On Us in 2014, and since then, colleges and universities across the country have created campaigns and pledged to oppose behaviors that can lead to sexual assault. Sacred Heart staff, faculty and students saw the initiative’s importance and necessity and have launched their own campaign, with several SHU clubs, sports teams and organizations joining the cause.
Cory Robinson, a sophomore English major who is on the pre-law track, first learned about It’s On Us from a news story. He said he didn’t think much of it at first, until he attended a conference at the University of Connecticut last year with SHU’s Student Wellness Education and Empowerment Team (s.w.e.e.t.). There he heard a group from Roger Williams University talk about its own It’s On Us campaign.
“I realized we needed to do that,” Robinson said. “I thought we needed this campaign to be on SHU’s campus.”
Each group that takes part in It’s On Us will develop its own finish for the sentence, “Our University is…” s.w.e.e.t.’s version is: “Our SHU is a community where consent is sweet.” Robinson said the tagline is witty and specific to the s.w.e.e.t. organization, which promotes wellness on campus.
“The campaign is very grassroots. It’ll start with us; we’re the leaders of the campaign,” Robinson said of s.w.e.e.t. The hope is other groups will follow and compose their own taglines, spread the word through social media and create a movement.
“All of the campaign’s success rests solely on the students,” said Robinson. “It’s only as successful as the students want it to be, but I have a strong faith in them.”
Junior Kelly Donovan, a performing arts major and s.w.e.e.t. member, said she thinks the University community will respond well to the campaign. “We are a close-knit community with lots of pride and integrity,” she said. “With most of the students involved in at least one campus organization, the word is sure to spread fast through social media and by word of mouth. I think the best part about it will be that every organization can create its own little spin on what they believe our SHU is.”
Donovan said she hopes everyone takes the national pledge, which asks students:
- To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault
- To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur
- To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given
- To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported
“Everyone is equally important within this campaign,” Donovan said. “Everyone has the duty to uphold the pledge they’ve taken on within their daily life and at Sacred Heart.”
Senior Connor Donnelly, a double major in marketing and sports management, has been involved with the campaign through his work with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Student Athlete Advisory Committee. He said he has seen the It’s On Us videos other schools have produced, and they made him realize the initiative’s importance.
Donnelly’s role has been to incorporate SHU’s student athletics into the campaign. “It’s something that no one knows how to talk about,” he said, “but with the entire campus taking part, it will have a great presence on campus and hopefully will make a difference at SHU.”
He said he hopes people understand that everyone has a duty to protect students at SHU from sexual assault.
Here is a sampling from the poster campaign.