“It’s on Us” PA grant awarded once again

Ivory Easton, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University recently received just under $30,000 through Pennsylvania’s “It’s On Us” grant to address sexual assault on campus and the development of healthy relationships.

In line with the national “It’s on Us” campaign, this grassroots awareness program strives to create a safe campus environment through education and activism.

The program has a presence in all 50 states, including 275 campuses and over 400,000 pledge signers. The motto “It’s on Us” focuses on the responsibility of each member on campus to make colleges and universities safer.

In January 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf launched “It’s on Us PA,” as a more local approach to the issue and to ensure that colleges and universities have the proper resources to combat sexual violence, through prevention, awareness and response tactics.

Since its inception, 149 “It’s On US PA” grants have been distributed throughout the state, totaling more than $4 million spread across 80 institutions.

“Students, staff and educators across the Commonwealth have done tremendous work through ‘It’s on Us PA’ to protect learning environments and ensure they are free from sexual assault, harassment and violence,” Wolf said.

This year on Jan. 25, he announced 42 institutions were selected for the grant, including local schools Penn State Behrend, Point Park, Slippery Rock and Indiana University of PA.

This is the fifth year in a row that Mercyhurst was awarded this grant. “Each year we have had it we have been able to use the funds to develop projects like the Healthy Relationship Curriculum; special student events, Coaching Boys to Men and more,” said Judy Smith, Ph.D., Executive Director of Wellness.

This money will go towards the Title IX Office and Counseling Center to support several initiatives including the development of a healthy masculinity curriculum, furtherance of the SafeNet and Crime Victim Center partnership and maintenance of the UASK Hurst App.

Those looking for more information about how they can get involved with the “It’s on Us” campaign and make campus safer should go online to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Here, students, faculty, staff and community members can find information and resources that will educate them to be able to take a pledge to keep others safe from sexual assault and resolve to be part of the solution.