Benji Satloff and Max Levy, two students active in Hillel, have been selected for the It’s On Us student advisory committee for the 2016-2017 academic year. This committee consists of 10-15 college students from across the country, chosen to spread the message that sexual assault prevention is on all of us.
President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the It’s On Us initiative in September 2014, a collaboration between the White House and Generation Progress to raise awareness of sexual assault on campus and end it. Members of this committee volunteer their time to spread the It’s On Us message across their campuses to encourage bystander intervention.
Hillel International was proud to be one of the White House’s first partners on It’s On Us.
“I didn’t have to ask Hillel,” said Biden at the 2014 JFNA General Assembly. “You just stepped up—500 campus organizations. That’s who you are. It’s on us to speak up, to speak out, to take responsibility.”
Satloff, a rising 19-year-old sophomore at Duke University, first found his campus community at Hillel. Satloff’s participation in Hillel includes Shabbat, high holiday services and dinners.
During his spring break of freshman year, Satloff met with the It’s On Us staff in Washington, D.C. After his trip, Satloff resolved to bring the campaign’s ideas of sexual assault prevention to Greek life.
He joined Kappa Alpha fraternity in the spring. Satloff suggested his fraternity class film themselves taking the It’s On Us pledge. They will post this video on their social media in the fall, and challenge other chapters nationally to do the same.
“The goal is creating a mass movement of people taking the pledge,” said Satloff. “The message of the campaign is incredibly powerful. It’s on every single person to step up and think, ‘What can I do to decrease the amount of sexual assaults on campus? How can I be part of the solution?’”
Satloff recognizes that the Greek community presents itself with social situations, like parties for instance, where sexual assault may take place. “A lot of good can come out of awareness,” he said.
Satloff must plan university events as part of his It’s On Us committee duties. Satloff intends to show screenings of the Stanley Kramer Award-winning movie “The Hunting Ground” — a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses — and host town halls to facilitate discussion on campus. He also hopes to co-host with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of this,” said Satloff. “It really is on all of us to think what I can do in my social power to affect the largest change I can. It’s really important for college student to think that.”
Another college student on the committee, Max Levy, 21-year-old rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses his It’s On Us efforts through Penn Dems, a Democrat club on campus.
Levy became interested in the It’s On Us campaign when he worked with Generation Progress, a political and social organization that partnered with the White House to launch It’s On Us. While Levy was working there, he learned about the prevalence of sexual assault on campus: Throughout their time in college, one in five female students and one in 16 male students will be sexually assaulted. Levy was shocked. A survey releasing statistics on the University of Pennsylvania’s sexual assault instances moved Levy to get more involved.
“It was unacceptable how big a problem this was,” said Levy. “The student advisory committee was the perfect avenue for me to start getting active in the space.”
He has used his wide network, from the Penn Dems, to those he’s met as Jewish life liaison at Penn’s Hillel, to his fraternity Phi Kappa, Psi to spread awareness about campus sexual assault. “Each organization should step up and say sexual assault is not acceptable in our space,” said Levy.
Levy wants to be sure students know about the Penn Violence Prevention Center, and the resources it has available for students. One of the Center’s tools is its resource guide—providing information on sexual violence, reporting options and how to get more involved with sexual assault prevention.
Satloff said the It’s On Us project is “getting people motivated to play a role and do something to affect positive change on campus. It’s powerful for students on college campuses to take the stand against sexual assault.”