“It’s On Us” Campaign Aims to Collect Pledges with Upcoming Drive

To kick off a pledge drive for the “It’s On Us” Campaign at the University of Illinois Springfield, a Proclamation is set from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby. Johanny Martinez, a graduate assistant in the Women’s Center, said the goal of  “It’s On Us” is to try and get faculty, department and student organizations united together against sexual misconduct on campus.

    To do this, there will be a competition between these organizations to see who can collect the most pledges for the cause. By pledging, people commit to step up if they ever see sexual assault or misconduct happening. Part of the campaign is also meant to spread bystander intervention, Briyonnie Houston, a graduate assistant in the Diversity Center, said. This includes giving people the tools and language they can use to help promote and spread the message. “If you ever come across a situation that is as inappropriate as sexual assault or if you witness something, step up and speak up,” Martinez said.

     Houston said at the Proclamation, people such as Chancellor Susan Koch and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Clarice Ford will be explaining what the campaign is and promoting it. Organizers will also send out information about how departments can incorporate pledges into their own events. This can include having a board at their events with an “It’s On Us” logo, having a group discussion, or a table. “We want everybody who wants to participate and promote [It’s On Us]  to be creative in their own ways,” Martinez said.

     Organizers of the “It’s On Us” campaign at UIS are hoping for 1,000 pledges. Martinez said because of the #MeToo movement and recent Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault and misconduct, these issues are being highlighted in the media. “Despite the fact that we have sexual assault happening in our politics, in our government, we as a campus [can] stand together against sexual assault,” she said. Not speaking out about sexual assault and misconduct can create a “ripple effect of fear” on campus, especially if survivors feel their experiences are not being validated, Houston added. While it is unfortunate these incidents are occurring, Martinez said they are helping to bring light to these issues. “Let’s not be quiet about it; let ’s say something,” she said.