From September 19 to 23, Conestoga's Student Engagement team and Sexual & Gender-based Violence Prevention & Support Office engaged the college community in workshops and activities to help increase consent culture.
Student ambassadors facilitated prevention activities at the annual Take Back the Night event in Kitchener. L-R: Temitope, Namrata, Chiamaka, and Maria.
The events supported Consent Awareness Week, a campaign inviting thoughtful, affirming, intersectional and age-appropriate conversations on Canadian campuses about consent as a cornerstone of relationships. The initiative is part of a federally funded project by Possibility Seeds to address and prevent gender-based violence at schools across the country.
"Consent Awareness Week continues important conversations on what it means to feel respected and safe wherever you live, work, learn and play," said Amy Baird, Student Engagement manager. "Our efforts to spread awareness, action and accountability are integral to helping prevent sexual and gender-based violence on campuses and in communities."
Workshops throughout the week addressed consent and responding to disclosures of sexual violence. The college community was also invited to participate in the #WeBelieveYouDay campaign by wearing purple to share support for survivors, strengthen allyship skills, and build cultures of care.
Leading into Consent Awareness Week, Conestoga students and employees also supported Take Back the Night in Kitchener on September 15. The event was hosted by the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC) as part of an annual global protest against sexual and gender-based violence. In addition to participating in the walk, the Student Engagement team was part of the planning committee and student ambassadors facilitated prevention activities at the event that fostered conversations with the community about consent.
The initiatives build on Conestoga's ongoing prevention program that provides consent culture education and resources to the college community. Workshops, events and courses are aimed at ending sexual and gender-based violence and creating safer homes, schools, workplaces and communities. A series of consent culture workshops led by Student Engagement, the Sexual & Gender-based Violence Prevention & Support Office, and SASC is available each term for co-curricular credit. Sessions discuss topics of consent, healthy relationships, bystander intervention, responding to disclosures of sexual violence, and where to find resources for support. Students are encouraged to sign up through the Student Success Portal.
Conestoga's Sexual and Gender-based Violence Prevention & Support Office provides centralized support to the college community through preventative programming and trauma-informed response.
The Student Engagement team meets the needs of students through innovative programming designed to achieve goals with learning outcomes-based initiatives, including the Co-Curricular Record; Orientation; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion education and programming; the Leadership Workshop Series; and various student leadership positions, volunteer and committee opportunities.