Coordinators continue to face issues with awareness, student involvement
Darien Horwood, Contributor
Photos provided by Jody Armstrong
Capilano University implemented the Sexual Violence and Misconduct policy in 2016, and with it the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) launched a campaign of their own. Let’s Get Consensual is a sexual violence and misconduct awareness campaign based off of a similar initiative of the same name created by the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS).
Let’s Get Consensual is a joint-effort campaign supported by the CSU and CapU Support & Wellness, and “provides judgment-free consent education and training in order to fight rape culture,” as stated on their information page. In conjunction with training, workshops and seminars, coordinators also run media campaigns, produce safer sex packets and table around campus in order to engage students.
Originally, the campaign could not be launched until CapU members received training from the UVSS and members of the Anti-Violence Project. In winter of 2017, five CSU representatives traveled to KPU in Surrey to complete an intense three-day training workshop.
Facilitators of the campaign, like Jody Armstrong, community wellness strategist at CapU, acknowledged that they had some problems getting the program off the ground, and noticed that there was a general lack of knowledge about consent and the realities of sexual violence on campus. “There was a lack of understanding on what it even meant to have a consent education, how it fit in with the new sexual violence and misconduct policy,” said Armstrong.
The same sentiment rang true for former Women Students Liaison Katie Japaridize. “That’s one of the hardest things for us, to get people together and to get people interested, because we’re a commuter campus. No one really stays here,” she told the Courier earlier this year.
Another issue that campaign coordinators faced was in advertising. People across campus “weren’t seeing or caring about the posters,” said Armstrong. More efforts were made to advertise on social media and campaign information was relayed through the University’s own website. Despite their efforts, coordinators of CapU’s Let’s Get Consensual campaign struggle to draw in much attention. “That’s just not how students are responding to marketing of events,” she said.
Armstrong said that the campaign’s focus is to now work closely with groups and collectives that have experience in these types of workshops. “Groups like Acting for Stage and Screen’s first-years,” said Armstrong, who she said have all taken part in a Let’s Get Consensual workshop. Coordinators have also been asked to advertise the program and workshops in classes, and among CapU hubs like the Centre for International Experience.
During the month of November, information from the Let’s Get Consensual campaign will be relayed to CapU staff, ensuring that they too are understanding of the program’s initiatives and are updated on what is being taught to the students regarding consent.
Although the campaign had a slow start, it has grown since its 2017 inception. Armstrong and other coordinators now offer Let’s Get Consensual classes and workshops upon request, so long as there are no fewer than 10 attendees.
The Let’s Get Consensual workshops offered to students at CapU are more casual than the training members of the CSU received from the UVSS and the Anti-Violence Project. Rather than an intense and information-heavy training session, workshops are presented in a way that allows for open conversation and a supportive environment.
The last workshop at CapU was held on Nov. 8 in the Library building. Although there are no future workshops planned, coordinators continue to work on engaging with students to draw in attention and support for the campaign.
For more information on the Let’s Get Consensual campaign visit http://csu.bc.ca/consent/ or contact Jody Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org