October is that lovely time of year when the holidays are almost in sight, but the stress of it all has not yet come hurdling down. If you lived anywhere else in the United States right now, the leaves would be changing colors, the weather would be cooling, and it’d seem like the perfect time to be alive.
October has always stood for more than just another month on the annual calendar, however. One typically seems to associate this month, first and foremost, with the wonders and horrors of All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, but October is also a month that many important causes identify as their own. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and National Down Syndrome Awareness Month are equivalently synonymous with the thirty-one days that make up what we know to be the month of October. The list goes on and on: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, National Dental Hygiene Month. . .
As college students coming from a diverse range of personal experience, some of these issues may be more relevant to us on a personal level than others, but all are significant. The pink of breast cancer month might sometimes seem to outcompete the purple ribbon that stands for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but when statistics claim that a third of women and a tenth of men in the United States of America have experienced or will experience some sort of abuse in their lifetimes (i.e. rape, physical violence, and/or stalking), we must remind ourselves that all of these causes are equally vital to promote.
It seems only fitting therefore that the Office of Title IX would host Consent Week 2016 in the midst of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a mandatory part of Freshman Orientation, we all discussed issues regarding consent, so the themes that surround Consent Week should not be new or unfamiliar to anyone. However, the fact that the Office of Title IX hosts an annual Consent Week on campus annually is an important reminder to all of us about how pertinent and serious such issues should be. It is most definitely not a topic to be taken lightly, though some popular culture medias might seem to hint otherwise.
As a part of Consent Week, #TarsGetConsent stickers and bracelets were handed out on campus. The Wellness Ambassadors also participated in promoting Consent Week by running a Kissing Booth event where students were encouraged to discuss the importance of themes such as respect, economic partnership, honesty, trust, and accountability as they pertained to a healthy relationship. It should be pointed out that not all relationships are romantic, however, and it is just as important to promote shared responsibilities and a supportive environment in a relationship between roommates or friends as it is between loved ones.
“It is important for students to respect themselves and their rights; it’s equally important, if not more important for students to respect each other and their rights. That’s what this event is all about,” said Connor Celentano ‘18, one of the Wellness Ambassadors in charge of planning and coordinating the Kissing Booth event.
As another facet of the Kissing Booth event, students were also asked to listen to a song and identify whether the lyrics were in fact promoting consent or not. The messages our generation is exposed to daily by means of music and popular media regarding personal responsibility and relationships can be incredibly distressing; however, it is important that one takes responsibility for their own actions. It is also equally important that each and every member of the Rollins community makes a proactive effort to maintain and promote a safe campus.