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Campaign for consent launches during Spring Weekend release party

Positive Change campaign includes distributing tattoos, condoms with consent symbol

By
senior staff writer
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Dorothy Windham Consent

A campaign to encourage students to respect sexual consent during Spring Weekend was launched at the Spring Weekend Release Party Tuesday night.

The Positive Change campaign aims to increase awareness about consent by spreading a visual symbol of consent — a plus sign within a triangle — and ensuring the availability of professional staff to respond to harassment at the concert, said Molly Sandstrom ’17.  Sandstrom developed the campaign as part of her yearlong fellowship at Breakthrough, a global nonprofit that addresses gender-based violence.

Sandstrom designed the symbol, which will be on temporary tattoos and stickers to be disseminated at Spring Weekend events. The Office of Health Promotion is also providing safe sex supplies, including condoms with the symbol, Sandstrom said. Brown Concert Agency and the Student Activities Office are providing funds for the tattoos, she said.

In addition, Sandstrom will provide information about sexual consent and available campus resources through social media and poster infographics.

“People feeling unsafe at Spring Weekend (is) probably something that happens every year because of the nature of college and these environments,” said Brown Concert Agency Co-Chair Riley Ryan-Wood ’17. The BCA, who works with event security to promote safety at the concerts, gladly partnered with Sandstrom, who has “been working on this all year,” she added.

There are students who feel they are entitled to sexual experiences at Spring Weekend, and the campaign hopes “to disrupt that equation,” said Alex Volpicello ’18, who is helping with the campaign.

There are more violations of consent during Spring Weekend because students create “a really strong cultural narrative about what Spring Weekend is,” which can be harmful, Sandstrom said. One of those narratives is the idea that students have to “have fun, or you’re a loser,” Sandstrom said.

“The difficulty of Spring Weekend is a lot of people are expecting to hear ‘yes’ because of this idea that it’s a time where a lot of students are hooking up and having sex,” Sandstrom said. The campaign aims to familiarize students with saying “no” and respecting that response, she said.

Sandstrom is organizing a tent at the concert where students can seek immediate professional help for harassment. Because reentry into the concert is not possible, the availability of help within the concert gates increases accessibility, Sandstrom said.

The availability of the tent will be announced during the fire safety announcement at the beginning of the concert, Ryan-Woods added. Plans to provide in-depth training for interested students on consent and bystander tactics are also underway, in partnership with the Office of Health Promotion and the Office of Residential Life, Sandstrom said.