Marywood says, “It’s On Us”

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Photo credit/ Thomas Kerrigan

Student therapist for the counseling center, Dalice Hess, displays posters for Marywood University’s “It’s On Us” week.

Elizabeth Deroba, Community Editor

It’s On Us” is a nationwide initiative started in 2014 to combat sexual assault on college campuses, and Marywood is preparing to show its support for the movement this week.

This year’s “It’s On Us” week is hosted by the Counseling and Student Development Center in collaboration with Peers on Wellness, but according to Associate Director of the Counseling and Student Development Center Brandice Ricciardi other organizations on campus will also lend their support.

“Ross Novak comes to almost every event possible every year,” said Ricciardi. “The Title IX Coordinator Dr. Yerodin Lucas will be there. Health Services participates. Campus Ministry participates. Housing and Residence Life participates—as does the Office for Student Engagement.”

In addition, Ricciardi said the Student Government Association (SGA) helped pay for the giveaways and prizes for the end of the week. These prizes and giveaways include gift cards for Starbucks and Sheetz as well as some baskets of Marywood merchandise and treats.

According to Administrative Assistant for the Counseling and Student Development Center Julie Chowanec, students will get at least one prize entry for every event they attend during the week.

The week kicked off today with a poster scavenger hunt where students could search for posters around campus displaying information regarding self-care, healthy communication skills, sexual assault awareness and consent.

Tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. there will be a virtual showing of the film “Because I Love You” followed by group discussions focused on how words can be used as a means of control in unhealthy relationships.

On Wednesday students will be able to search for posters featuring each of the characters from “Friends” to think about what makes each a character a good friend.

On Thursday at 7:00 p.m. students can take part in a virtual bystander engagement workshop. During this event students will watch the film “Intervene” and learn about how to intervene in an act of violence.

To finish off the week, on Friday students will be asked to sign the “It’s On Us” pledge which reads:

“I pledge
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 in unacceptable and survivors are supported.”

According to Ricciardi, it is important for students to sign the pledge because it is a way for students to show that Marywood truly is a caring, service-oriented community.

“This is one of the many ways that we really get to say we are a supportive, caring community that doesn’t just have values, we live in those values,” said Ricciardi.

Throughout the week, Title IX Coordinator Dr. Yerodin Lucas said he hopes students will learn about the resources available to them and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

“It’s a situation where you don’t know what you don’t know,” said Lucas.

Ricciardi also said she hopes students learn the definition of consent.

“When you know what consent is, when you believe that you have a voice and you can use your voice, then you get to really thrive, and that’s what we want,” said Ricciardi. “We want a community of citizens that thrive.”

After this week, Lucas said students should continue to educate each other.

“I think students are some of the best advocates for other students,” said Lucas. “They are the best people to pass on information, and they can talk peer to peer. So get the word out, understand what the resources are, so if you’re ever faced with a situation, or faced with a situation where you need to be a resource, you know how to refer people to what they can do and be a resource to help.”

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