SGA plans “It’s On Us” event for spring break

by News Editor Anna Beahm

As spring break approaches, Student Government Association officials are planning an “It’s On Us: Spring Break Edition” event for March 23.

The event will be part of University Program Council’s “Wind Down Wednesdays,” said University Program Council Delegate Nick Smith.

“We plan to hopefully have a bigger and better turnout at this event,” said SGA President Nick Lang. “We also plan to incorporate a lot more educational components to this event to truly get the message across to students that they need to be active bystanders on a daily basis and specifically the week of spring break.”

SGA held an “It’s On Us” campaign launch party Nov. 5 where students took the pledge against sexual assault and learned more about prevention and how to get help.

At the launch party, 257 students signed SGA’s banner and took the pledge against sexual assault, Lang said in a previous story.

“There’s no more room to fill it out,” Smith said. “We’re eventually going to have to get another banner.”

Smith said he thinks the launch party was successful, but he hopes to improve on the “It’s On Us” effort with this event.

“Me and (Lang) thought it (this event) would be really cool to do since spring break is a big deal,” he said.

He said he’s trying to get speakers from Title IX, the Center for Women’s Studies and the One Love Foundation for the event.

Students need to know about the dangers of partying over spring break, said Title IX Coordinator Tammy Jacques.

“That Panama City Beat case is a prime example,” Jacques said. “That’s exactly what we worry about in spring break.”

In early March 2015, a 19-year-old woman was gang raped in the middle of the day on Panama City Beach during a Spring Break trip. Official reports indicate no one tried to stop the rape, but instead filmed it.

“(Students need) a buddy system, drink responsibly, look out for one another and (not) go home with strangers,” Jacques said.

“If you see something wrong, step up and do something. Looking out for their friends is so critical.”

“You never know what things can happen,” Jacques said.

She said she thinks active bystander training is very important for students to know before packing for the beach for spring break.

SGA will give away 100 tank tops and stickers with the “It’s On Us” logo. There will also be 17 dozen cupcakes from Yummies Bakery, Domino’s Pizza and drinks free for students.

The event will have a beach theme, so Smith said he encourages students to wear Hawaiian shirts to the event.

“We plan to have a fun social environment where students can hang out and relieve some stress from extremely busy schedules full of classes and homework,” Lang said. “All of the details aren’t finalized, but really there will just be fun activities throughout the event.”

Feedback from the launch party in November showed students need to learn more about sexual assault, he said.

“A question on the feedback form was, ‘Did you have any knowledge of “It’s On Us” before this event?’ and a lot of students said no because we hadn’t talked about it before,” Smith said. “That was one of our big drawbacks from it — that we actually need to center on teaching students on what ‘It’s On Us’ is, how ‘It’s On Us’ can impact students lives and how students can be safe on campus.”

In addition to the spring break event, Smith said SGA plans to do an educational event for April, which is sexual assault awareness month.