After seeing incidents of sexual assault publicized in the media, Alex Dziadosz ’16 and Payton Jancsy ’16 approached Lisa Joel, Associate Dean of Admissions, for help in bringing the “It’s On Us” campaign to Andover’s campus.
“It’s on Us,” a White House-led initiative originally focusing on college campuses, asks members of communities to pledge to be active participants in the fight to end sexual assault.
“This is such an important time in everyone’s life here at Andover. Everyone is growing as students, and being away from your home and from your parents can sometimes make campus a scary place. If we all do our part in making it as safe as possible, it will make everyone enjoy their experience at [Andover] more,” said Jancsy.
“We want to spread awareness of how students can be active in preventing and fighting against sexual assault and just really making Andover as safe and welcoming to everyone as possible,” Dziadosz added.
The “It’s On Us” pledge entails a long-term commitment to sexual assault prevention.
“[This initiative] has to be more than a one day awareness campaign. We must keep this conversation going, and most importantly, create an environment that makes sexual assault, gender-based violence of any sort entirely unacceptable. Once you leave Andover, the hope is you bring this awareness and this mindset to the next community you enter,” said Joel.
After Joel accepted the pair’s proposal, she collaborated with Dziadosz and Jancsy in the development and implementation of the “It’s On Us” initiative on campus.
“The key thing in my mind is that this was student-initiated. That is how real change takes place. The adults can put powerful programs in place that we feel are important to educate students on essential topics, but when it is students who take the lead, that is when I believe we are going to make the best headway,” wrote Joel in an email to The Phillipian.
With the hopes of spreading awareness of the campaign around campus, Dziadosz and Jancsy sold blue T-shirts imprinted with the “It’s On Us” logo. Dziadosz, Jancsy and Joel received more support than they initially expected, and they hope that students use this opportunity to take action in preventing sexual assault, they said.
“Taking the pledge is one thing, but then starting to actually live your life that way and create a community in which everyone does their part in stopping sexual assault is the most important. So there’s talking the talk, and then there’s everyone doing their part and walking the walk,” said Jancsy.
Joel added, “It is one thing to know about a problem, or in this case, a crisis, but what is going to make the difference is what we all do to prevent sexual assault. The campaign demands that we become active bystanders—that we know what being an active bystander means.”