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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Student Government Association Launches Monarchs Rising Up Campaign

Launching the Student Government Association's new student engagement initiative, "Monarchs Rising Up," SGA president Chris Ndiritu challenged his audience Monday afternoon at Webb Center.

"I look around this room and have one question for you all," Ndiritu said. "How will you contribute to the prevention of sexual assault?"

Personal challenge is a central theme of the SGA's ambitious, four-pronged mission it plans to sustain into the next academic year to raise awareness of:

  • campus sexual assault
  • social media civility
  • safe and responsible off-campus life
  • a "Monarch Keepers" attitude

"Today, it is more important than ever to have accountability for not only ourselves, but for each other," Ndiritu and vice-president Carina Wicker wrote in a letter to students last weekend.

And in their remarks to a crowd of about 50 students - who watched a brief student-made video on sexual assault - the two SGA leaders repeatedly urged their peers to be vocal and proactive in their mutual support.

"Basically, everyone is a Monarch," Wicker said, of the Monarch Keepers initiative. "If you're here on campus or somewhere else in Virginia and you see a Monarch, they're your brotherhood. We want to instill that connection with other Monarchs."

Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, said the latest SGA movement continues impressive past steps initiated by the student body.

"They're very much about building on where they've been before," Neufeldt said. "While ODU is transforming, our students are saying what the personality and face of ODU will be. They have really owned that. It's a very impressive student government here, and it's really about impressive student leaders in general."

Ndiritu, a junior, is one of only two college students serving on Gov. Terry McAuliffe's recently formed Virginia Campus Sexual Violence Task Force. Monday, he asked students to adopt the attitude of, "if you see something, say something" in order to combat sexual violence.

Ndiritu also rallied his listeners to refrain from spreading inflammatory or degrading comments on social media.

"Each negative tweet we send out about the University only destroys the reputation we have built all these years," he said. "I challenge you to hold each other accountable for each other's actions. We need to show each other that it's not OK to put another Monarch down."