Lobby tables raise awareness on consent

Samm Snell (Left) and Laura Darnell (Right) work the Consent lobby table in the Student Center Friday afternoon.

Consent is a part of daily life for the average college student. Whether it involves asking to borrow a person’s pencil, or to have a bite of your buddy’s meal. However, when it comes to sexual consent people tend to shy away from the discussion.

Eastern Michigan University’s Women’s Resource Center hosted a lobby table in the Student Center last Monday through Friday where they educated students on the importance of sexual consent.

The Women’s Resource Center tables were a small, yet important part of the activities put together to bring awareness to consent week, amidst discussions and social events such as Tuesday night’s “Healthy Sexuality” or Thursday night’s “A Walk In Her Shoes.”
Women’s Resource Center program coordinator Ellen Collier was at the consent table trying to get the word out.

“My philosophy is that one of the basic preventative measures we need to be taking is talking to people about consent,” Collier said. “The other one is bystander intervention, but consent especially. What is it? How do you get it? Consent is important because it lets us figure out what’s exciting, what’s scary, what’s OK [and] what’s not OK with a partner.”

Those who stopped at the lobby table were offered a consent kit, a consent mustache and even a consent Hershey kiss.

Students could write how they give consent on a whiteboard and get their pictures taken. Students were also made aware of the support services offered by the Women’s Resource Center as well as services offered by the Wellness Center in the Snow Health Center.

Jordan Ditsch, an EMU student and service director of Omega Phi Alpha, said his experience working the consent tables has been really eye-opening.

“I have always had really passionate views about sexual assault and consent,” Ditsch said. “It’s always been super huge to me to make sure people are aware of having a healthy sexuality.”

Often, people feel uncomfortable talking about their sexual health, because it is normally kept private. This frequently keeps people from expressing their feelings towards sexual topics with their potential partners. People assume because of sexual history, or because you consented to one activity, it means you consent to all things. Discussion of consent is extremely vital in those moments.

Consent based problems do not just happen to women. EMU student Carl Henrichs said that men also play a role in consent.

“I’m 100 percent for it; I believe everyone should consent before having sex,” Henrichs said.

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