‘It’s On Us’ Student Leader Makes National Impact

Friday, July 22, 2016

At university and college campuses around Ohio and across the country, sexual assault is a serious problem. It’s On Us, a national movement championing prevention and awareness, has one goal – to stop campus sexual assaults.

Bowling Green State University senior Mary Toth got involved in the student-led initiative to help improve the culture at BG. In the fall of 2015, she was chosen as one of 17 students nationally to serve on the inaugural It’s On Us Student Advisory Committee, which provides campus student leaders with an opportunity to make a larger impact. Near the conclusion of her committee term, she traveled to the White House to meet Vice President Joe Biden.

“It’s On Us has a powerful message. All institutions and individuals must continue to address this issue to make progress,” Toth said. “BGSU is lucky to have such tremendous support from President Mary Ellen Mazey, faculty and staff.”

In her committee role, Toth pushed for more opportunities for education, awareness and prevention. Her personal story shows that sexual assault is not just a statistic, but is negatively impacting people across the country. 
“There is always a need to be more proactive,” Toth said. “Campuses need to create a supportive and safe environment for all.”

Given the enormity of this issue, change does not come easy. Toth works with fellow survivors and advocates on a variety of initiatives to combat sexual assault at Bowling Green and on the national committee. 
“Students need to stand up. Action produces an equal impact as philanthropy,” Toth said.  

In Washington, D.C., Toth met with the other 16 students on the national committee, as well as her mentor, It’s On Us initiative director Kristin Avery, and Andrea Pino, a national leader and subject of the 2015 documentary, “The Hunting Ground.”

This academic year, Vice President Biden visited dozens of university and college campuses to meet with sexual assault survivors and administrators working to make change. Toth’s invitation to Washington D.C. showcases the support from the White House and its partners.

Before her involvement with It’s On Us, Toth made a difference through her work with the Office of Residence Life. During her time at BGSU, she was a resident adviser, was involved in the National Residence Hall Honorary and the Resident Student Association, and even had a job managing the front desk in Kreischer Residence Hall.
A political science and history major, Toth knows her work will not stop when her committee term ends. After graduation in August, she will be pursuing a career in nonprofit or political work focused on sexual assault advocacy and policy.


To learn more about the It’s On Us program at Bowling Green, visit 
https://www.bgsu.edu/recwell/wellness-connection/sexual-assault-awareness.html.

For information on Changing Campus Culture, the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s statewide initiative to better prevent and respond to sexual assault on college and university campuses, visit 
https://www.ohiohighered.org/ccc.