Student organizationsrally for consensual sex
By Emily Goodell, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Massachusetts Row beamed with colorful booths and booming music as crowds of students were able to participate in such activities as a condom dart throw, in the 7th annual Consent Day on Friday Afternoon.
The aim of the event is to raise awareness about sexual assault, according to Chris Fletcher ’11, a Sexual Abuse Peer Advisor who was a member of the Consent Day planning committee.
“Sexual harassment still happens on college campuses, so I think it’s really important to reaffirm that,” Fletcher said. “I think that’s the really great part of consent day — it brings people together for a great cause in a very fun and interactive way.”
The turnout of students was average or above average this year, according to Lisa Janowski, a medical assistant at Dick’s House who ran the Dick’s House booth at Consent Day.
“There were people constantly,” Christine Goldrick ’11, who ran a booth that provided information about sex trafficking, said. “I don’t think there was ever an ebb and flow, there were just always people.”
A variety of Greek organizations and student groups hosted booths that ranged from Kappa Kappa Gamma’s booth featuring races to put a condom on a dildo to a wheel-of-fortune style question wheel run by Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity. Students who participated in a number of the activities were given a free “Consensual Sex is Hot” T-shirt.
Ujima dance troupe, the Summerphonics a capella group and the Soul Scribes performed at the event in front of a large crowd, according to Kait Barber ’11. Free condoms were also available to students at the event.
Barber spent part of her time at Consent Day running Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority’s booth where students could play “Consensual Twister,” in addition to helping distribute T-shirts, she said.
The activities forced students to take an active role in the event, Barber said. Students had to get signatures from each of the booths and sign a consent pledge to receive a T-shirt.
“Definitely people come for the t-shirt, but I think people have actually learned something in the sense that you have to do the activities, so even if we’re forcing them to do the activities, they’re still learning about it,” Barber said. “I taught a whole bunch of people earlier that if someone’s drunk they cannot give consent, to their surprise.”
While some students come to the event for the T-shirt, others seemed to be more interested in participating in the offered activiites.
“I think people, if they’re here, want to hear about the wide range of issues having to do with sex,” Goldrick said. “I think they are willing to listen, it’s an interesting topic.”
In addition to the booths run by student groups, Dick’s House’s booth offered information on Plan B, a “morning-after” birth control pill that Dick’s House offers at a reduced price. The booth also provided information on screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, according to Janowski.
“We’ve had a lot of questions about what our hours are, and about whether we even open over the summer — we are open over the summer — so it’s been a good turnout this year,” Janowski said.
Fletcher said Consent Day is beneficial because it hits almost everyone on campus, as the majority of students are on campus during their sophomore summer.
“I mean, who doesn’t want free condoms?” Barber said.
The event was organized by Michelle de Sousa, SAAP coordinator, in conjunction with the Women and Gender studies department. De Sousa did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Staff Writer Josh Roselman contributed to the reporting of this article.