Choose KU, Choose the World
by Anastasia Lehneis '17
From Kutztown University to the White House, Nykolai Blichar '17, a senior political science major, was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the Obama Administration's final National It's On Us Summit at the White House on January 5, 2017.
In September 2014, then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched It's On Us, an education-based campaign focusing on sexual assault awareness and prevention on college campuses. Blichar was chosen last year to be a part of the It's On Us Student Advisory Committee, made up of 28 students from college campuses and military academies around the nation.
"I am happy to see that Kutztown University is being represented on a national stage with other colleges and universities." Blichar explained, "To be a part of this change on the national level and have had the opportunity to work with the White House and Civic Nation is something I am truly honored to have done."
During the panel discussions, Blichar learned from many different speakers who spoke about this amazing campaign, including Kutztown's director of the Women's Center, Christine Price, who was also in attendance and spoke on one of the panels.
Among one of the speakers was Biden, "It was absolutely inspiring to hear Joe Biden speak so passionately about the issue of sexual assault and praising activists, such as myself, for the work that we do."
Since partnering with It's On Us, Kutztown University received a $29,100 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This grant has given KU the opportunity to increase awareness, create a campus climate survey, and fund resources and events happening on campus relating to sexual assault awareness and prevention.
Alongside the Obama Administration, the Wolf Administration was the first state to launch a state-level campaign called "It's On Us PA" in January 2016. Confirmed by Governor Tom Wolf, Blichar has also been appointed to serve as student trustee on the Kutztown University Council of Trustees, where he will be representing almost 8,000 KU students.
Although Nykolai Blichar is a senior graduating in May, he has no plans to end his involvement with It's On Us.
"The summit reassured me that the message of It's On Us is here to stay, even if the campaign itself is no longer housed in the White House, It's On Us will continue to be a rallying cry for students to join hands and address the issue of sexual assault on college campuses."
Blichar is also an advisor of the PA Joint State Government Commission Advisory Committee on Student Suicide in Higher Education, a Vote Everywhere Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, co-chairperson of the Diversity Council, undergraduate assistant at the GLBTQ Resource Center, and a founder of Lambda Delta Xi Diaternity.
"Thanks to Kutztown University, I have had the unique opportunity to serve in a variety of leadership roles. The skills and abilities that you gain in leadership and by being involved with student groups and the university are just as valuable as the knowledge gained in the classroom."
If you are interested, take the It's On Us pledge.