White House Names Humboldt State Student as ‘Champion of Change’ - Humboldt State Now

White House Names Humboldt State Student as ‘Champion of Change’

The White House honored a Humboldt State student on Thursday for her efforts to prevent sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking at colleges through a grassroots campus organization.

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CHECK IT Peer Educator Celene Lopez (front left) and the rest of the team. Lopez was recognized as a ‘Champion of Change’ by the White House. Photo courtesy of Marco Gonzalez

CHECK IT Peer Educator Celene Lopez (’17 Psychology) was among 10 recipients of the It’s On Us White House Champion of Change award, which recognizes outstanding student leaders in the movement to end sexual violence in colleges. Other winners included students from Boston University, University of Denver, University of Miami, Grand Valley State, Virginia Tech, Northern Colorado University, Howard University, West Point Military Academy, and UC San Diego.

CHECK IT is a big team effort. There’s no way to do a movement like this without the help of students across campus. I get to represent the work that so many students have done. This award is really for everybody,” says Lopez.

Vice President Joe Biden lauded the recipients at a White House Champions of Change event. He said of Lopez, “She had the courage to ask some really tough questions to change the conversation on her campus about what constitutes consent.”

>>Related Links<<: Biden remarks | Lopez ‘Live’ at White House | Champions of Change

Lopez’s passion for sexual violence prevention began at a Take Back the Night campus event two years ago.

“Learning about the prevalence of sexual violence hugely impacted me, and I knew that if I can do something about this, I have to,” says Lopez. “I put the time and effort into CHECK IT because people deserve to live in communities that are safe.”

Moved by the experience, she attended the CHECK IT launch party that year. Since then, Lopez has done everything from conducting bystander intervention workshops and outreach and designing CHECK IT materials, to supporting the work of volunteers.

“Celene’s incredible compassion, creativity, and energy working towards creating more consent centered and accountable communities is an inspiration to many,” says CHECK IT Prevention Coordinator Mary Sue Savage (’12, Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies). “This award is definitely the embodiment of everyone’s amazing work on campus and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to share about CHECK IT.”

About CHECK IT
CHECK IT is a student-led movement that empowers students to challenge and disrupt harm happening in communities when they witness potential moments of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. It provides the campus community with multiple tools for intervening in ways that are realistic and match people’s unique personalities, identities, and communication styles. Launched by students in 2014, CHECK IT was funded through a grant from the Department of Justice and developed by the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (SAPC) in partnership with the North Coast Rape Crisis Team.

For more information about CHECK IT visit Checkithsu.com, Facebook.com/checkithsu, Instagram.com/checkithsu.

CHECK IT will celebrate its two-year anniversary on April 20, 4 – 6 p.m. in the Great Hall.

About ‘It’s On Us’
The “It’s On Us” campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault. Launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden in September 2014, the campaign builds on the recommendations put forth by the White House’s Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, and is part of the ongoing commitment that President Obama and Vice President Biden have made to ensuring that each of us – both men and women – is part of the solution.

Since its launch, “It’s On Us” has engaged students at over 500 schools in 48 states, had more than 340,000 people sign the “It’s On Us” pledge, and worked with community members and celebrities alike to support survivors and change the culture around sexual assault.