Sadly, sexual assault on college campuses is in the news a lot lately. Everyone says, “We should do something,” but not enough actually do. Three Miles Lost, the all female a cappella group at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, put their talent to work, garnering support across campus for their performance of Lady Gaga’s Til It Happens To You, and literally giving a voice to the It’s On Us campaign, championed by Vice President Joe Biden and Lady Gaga, and getting a shout out from Gaga herself. Here is their story:
- What inspired you to perform Til It Happens To You?
We first heard about the Sing for Survivors contest through a 3ML alum, so we got together as a group and watched Lady Gaga’s video. None of us could speak for some time after the video ended. We were so moved by the lyrics and the visual presentation, and when we began talking about it, we realized that each of us had been affected by sexual assault in some way. Some of us have friends who have been assaulted, and some of us have been affected more personally, so we knew it was a song we wanted to perform for ourselves as much as everyone we knew.
- How did you get the whole HWS community engaged?
All we had to do was ask! When we decided on how we wanted our video to look, we reached out to groups across campus that 3ML members had connections with, and we sent out a campus-wide message asking our community members to help us out. As more and more people heard of our project, people began seeking us out and wanting to become involved. It was overwhelming, actually. We had so many people participating that we didn’t know how to fit everyone in!
- What do you think that others can do on their campuses to spread the word?
Getting the word out with social media is an easy way to start. We created a Facebook group asking the entire campus to come shoot the large group scene, and over 150 people came to support us during a busy academic time. Something simple like that is a good way to begin, and then you can partner with others and hold meetings or events.
- What did it feel like to be noticed by Lady Gaga?
It was absolutely incredible. We were all so shocked and excited; there aren’t enough words to describe how it felt. None of us stopped smiling for days after her tweet. It was really special to be honored in that way after all the hard work we’d done.
- What makes you feel confident?
Tora: Working hard at something specific and having a goal in mind – then practicing, practicing, and then even MORE practicing until I finally nail whatever it is I was working on! There is nothing more powerful than having achieved what you work for, be it passing a test you studied hard for, finally getting that one move down in a sport, or having a great performance with your a cappella group 🙂
Hannah: I feel confident when I know that what I have been working towards is making myself the best that I can be. When I feel that I have accomplished that, it reassures me that performing at the best possible level will make my team or group better as well. Whether it is on the field hockey field or with my a cappella sisters, if I know I have worked my hardest, I am confident that more people than just myself will benefit from it.
Rachel: What makes me confident is the support that I receive from my friends and family. Having them with me allows me to feel like I can tackle anything.
Natalie Y: What makes me feel confident is when I present myself well and actually pick out a good outfit, do my hair, all of that. If I put the effort into doing that, I know I can put effort into my next goal for the day, week, or year. When I’m working towards a goal and doing well with that endeavor, it helps me do all of the things I set myself out to do to achieve the goal.
Maggie: Singing is something that makes me confident, especially when I’m with the other ladies of 3ML singing for a large audience. People stop me after our performances and give me such kind, positive feedback that I can’t help but smile and feel confident in our group and myself.
Kelsie: What makes me confident is feeling comfortable. If I’m around people who support me no matter what, or if I am doing something I truly believe in, then I feel confident. I could not care what anyone else thinks as long as I believe in what I’m doing, and so do the people who support me!
- What does She’s Fit To Lead mean to you? How does someone become Fit To Lead?
Christine: To me, She’s Fit To Lead means having the confidence to voice your opinion, and defend it. It means sticking to what you believe in when people are trying to knock you down. I think you can become Fit To Lead by surrounding yourselves with other people who are fit to lead and who push you to become a better, more confident version of yourself.
Natalie B: To me it means passion. I’m very fortunate to have a great support system. My family has helped me grow up into a strong independent woman that should (almost) never be ashamed of decisions and actions I make. To be Fit To Lead I surround myself with friends who also like to challenge themselves and are proud of the all their quirks as well as my own. Someone becomes fit to lead when, even if they do not do the same activities or have the same passions as someone else, they can still equally respect them.
Jessica: People become fit to lead when they have confidence in themselves. I’m a feminist and am majoring in contextual leadership so anything that empowers women to know they have the power to lead and make a difference is important to me. Being mentally strong enough to be able to truly accomplish anything that you put your mind to is how you can become fit to lead.
Erica: She’s Fit To Lead means having the self-confidence to stand up for those who may not always have a voice. A strong leader listens and takes their direction from those they are leading. It is something more than yourself. It’s for a group. It takes perseverance, strength, and passion, but most of all it take people behind you.
Lucy: In my opinion, She’s Fit To Lead means standing up for something you believe in and doing everything you can to accomplish something. It means having the confidence to stand up and make a difference when others cannot. Courage, dedication, and bravery are the words that come to mind.
Danielle: To me, She’s Fit to Lead means having the ability and selflessness to see outside of one’s immediate personal wants and needs. It represents someone who is not only true to themselves, but true to a greater cause much bigger than themselves. Someone who is fit to lead does not lead with words, but leads by taking action.
Thank you again to Three Miles Lost for inspiring us and showing us the amazing things that can happen when you invest in giving back.
The women of Three Miles Lost are: