Clarion, Pa.- The #Day1 Declaration is an anti-bullying campaign inspired by the story of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old college student who ended his life after he was targeted by harassment on social media.
After Clementi’s death, his family helped to kick-start the #Day1 Declaration in hopes that it would “end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities,” according to Clementi’s website.
Karen Whitney, Clarion University’s president, heard about the foundation and campaign at a meeting in New York, where she was able to hear about Tyler’s story from his mother, Jane Clementi.
“I was so moved by her story,” she said. “This really fits our overall university commitment to student safety.” Whitney presented the campaign to the office of Social Equity, and a team of staff and students was organized to help get Clarion’s branch off the ground.
“The idea of it just took fire,” Whitney also said. Joseph Croskey, an advisor in the Student Success Center, was one of the staff members that volunteered to be a part of the campaign. “There should be something done about [bullying],” he said. “Hopefully behaviors will change.”
While the university is anticipating a lot of success with this campaign, those involved are particularly impressed with the immediate impact it has had on students and faculty, already having received multiple emails of support.
The university is also in the process of planning campus-wide events on top of the campaign, including staff training. According to President Whitney, the hope is that by “increasing awareness and inviting people to be a part of the solution,” bullying will no longer be a part of students’ lives.
Croskey shared these hopes and added, “In addition to making a declaration not to harm others, sometimes our thoughts are our own worst enemy.” He believes that in order for there to be significant results, people also need to stop harming themselves.
The university is hoping that students will also take the pledge to end bullying on its campus, and that this will be the beginning of a safer and more accepting place to go to school and work. “This is about what we all want as a community,” Whitney concluded.
For more information on the foundation and the #Day1 Declaration, one can visit tylerclementi.org.