The idea for this club first came from a student who approached me a couple weeks before Take Back the Night was scheduled to take place at Whitman (around April 2013) with a brilliant idea. She was wondering if there was any way to go into the fraternities and talk about consent to make the gentlemen excited to attend Take Back the Night and to get them to start talking about their role in preventing sexual violence on campus. As a survivor of sexual violence myself, I was excited by the idea and really wanted to see it through. However, we put the project on the back burner since we were already working on helping to plan the Power and Privilege Symposium being put on by a start-up ASWC (Associated Students of Whitman College) committee called Race and Ethnicity. But as soon as the symposium had passed, I returned to the student’s idea and consulted my boyfriend George and three of my other close friends who in some form or another I believed would be an asset to making this idea actually a reality.
Together the six of us were able to sit down and start brainstorming how we would go about promoting consent on campus since we decided that was something that was missing from our sexual violence prevention program already at Whitman. Needless to say, people on campus got wind of what we were trying to do and wanted to help us out so that by the end of the semester our group of six had grown to a group of 30 students enthusiastic and ready to help us create a relevant culture of consent on campus.
So, once we figured out our issue, of course we had to figure out our name. Thanks to the cleverness of one of our members, All Students for Consent (ASC) came to be. With our issue and a club name, we were ready to start spreading the word. Luckily, the president of a fraternity on campus approached us asking if we would be willing to present to his chapter. We jumped on the opportunity and began quickly preparing a curriculum to present to the chapter.
We decided to go with a discussion approach so we prepared a script that included policies, definitions, scenarios, and many opportunities to engage with the audience by brainstorming ways to ask for consent, allowing them to ask questions, and really trying to tackle those gray issues such as the way consent works when drugs and alcohol are involved. There are definitely ways to improve upon that original script, but for our first time, it really was a huge success. Once the ice had been broken, the gentlemen opened up and really got into the conversation. We left them with handouts summarizing our discussion, and I returned the next day to see that they left up their list of “Ways to Ask for Consent” in their chapter room.
Because we got started to late in the semester, there was not too much we could do in terms of talking to more groups and really establishing ourselves. This summer has been quiet a lul for us, but George and I are looking forward to getting back hitting the ground running as co-heads of ASC in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned for our events, stories, and any other news we wish to share. Thank you for your support and for helping us create a safe and fun consent culture for all!