It’s On Us student leader makes national impact
By Alex Solis
At university and college campuses, 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.
Senior Mary Toth got involved in the student-led initiative to help improve the culture at BGSU. In fall 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 an opportunity to make a larger impact. As her committee term comes to an end, 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.”
Toth pushes 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 BGSU and on the national committee. “Students need to stand up. Action produces an equal impact as philanthropy,” she said.
In Washington, D.C., Toth met with the other 16 students on the national committee; her mentor, Kristin Avery, director of the It’s On Us initiative; and Andrea Pino, a national leader and subject of the 2015 documentary film “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 the nation’s capital 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 has 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.