Millersville University was named 2020’s safest college in Pennsylvania and one of the safest in the country. For Kumaden Igyor, there’s always more that could be done.
Igyor, the Karlie’s Angel graduate assistant for MU’s Center of Health Education and Promotion, works closely with the University’s It’s On Us chapter, a student-led, national non-profit that strives to combat sexual assault through consent education, bystander intervention and survivor support. Founded in September 2014, It’s On Us has more than 300,000 people pledging to end sexual violence on college campuses. Millersville’s chapter was founded in 2016.
“Every year we ask for students to take a pledge with us to end sexual violence on our campus,” Igyor said. “That’s probably what we’re most known for, but we do so much more throughout the year.”
The organization is looking for student and faculty advocates to join Millersville’s campaign. Known as “green dotters,” campus advocates are a face for the cause, plan events and campaigns, run tables to spread information, create flyers to share at events and/or help run the pledge drive. Advocates have the option to volunteer as much time as they so choose.
The majority of student advocates come from Millersville’s Greek Life, Iygor said, but all students are welcome to join the cause.
“It takes an entire campus to stop sexual violence,” she said.
The It’s On Us movement uses four components to combat sexual violence on campuses: Recognize, create, identify and intervene. First, the movement aims to help people recognize that non-consensual sex is assault. Once that is recognized, campuses can begin to create policies and a culture that does not tolerate it.
By creating a culture where sexual violence is unacceptable, this leads to a discussion on being able to help people identify situations where sexual assault may occur. By identifying situations where sexual assault can occur, you can then intervene to stop sexual assault from happening.
Millersville is always striving to make its campus safer, Iygor said. Campus police are heavily involved with the It’s On Us movement, she said. The University placed easily identifiable blue light poles around campus that contain emergency call boxes. The Center for Health Education and Promotion also provides resources for students. The local YWCA and the University’s counseling center serves as confidential partners for victims seeking help.
Advocates also meet once a month to discuss how they can keep Millersville safe.
“We’re always looking for ideas on what we can do better,” Iygor said.
In the past, the It’s On Us movement would have an in-person week of action and pledge drive for students. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a majority of this year’s events were moved to online. Information can be found on the chapter’s social media pages. You can find the chapter’s Instagram page here and its Facebook page here.
Last year, Millersville finished third in a national pledge drive campaign, collecting 850 signatures. The only schools ahead were the University of Miami and West Virginia University.
“I think that shows how serious the students and faculty at Millersville are about ending sexual violence on our campus,” Iygor said. “Those are obviously some very big schools ahead of us on that list. We were very proud of that but we’re always looking to do more.”