News / Calgary

Mount Royal University says yes to #CalgaryGetsConsent

The campaign was created to raise awareness during big events in Calgary, but MRU felt it was an important message for post-secondary students to hear

Artists Ashlyn Alexandra Fenton (L) and Tori English illustrated Mount Royal University's #CalgaryGetsConsent colouring book that was distributed to students arriving, returning to or living on campus this year.

ELIZABETH CAMERON

Artists Ashlyn Alexandra Fenton (L) and Tori English illustrated Mount Royal University's #CalgaryGetsConsent colouring book that was distributed to students arriving, returning to or living on campus this year.

Calgary gets consent – but do you?

To help students get comfortable with the art of asking permission, Mount Royal University (MRU), the MRU Student’s Association (SAMRU) and the Calgary Sexual Health Centre have teamed up to bring the #CalgaryGetsConsent campaign to campus.

The awareness campaign aims to get students in the habit of setting healthy boundaries in all aspects of their lives, no matter their age or relationship status.

“Consent is so important because it starts with the little things and defines so many healthy boundaries in our lives,” said SAMRU president Shifrah Gadamsetti at the campaign launch on Tuesday.

“The most important piece is understanding consent for ourselves, so we know what our boundaries are and can communicate those to other people.”

Aside from asking students to use the #CalgaryGetsConsent hashtag on social media, MRU and illustrators Ashlyn Alexandra Fenton and Tori English created a millennial-friendly colouring book to illustrate what consent looks like that was distributed to all new and returning students this year.

In one illustration, an orange schemes about tucking his friend, a strawberry, into bed at the end of an evening out. On another page, a beaver tells their mate they're still attracted to them after all their years together, but they're not in the mood tonight.

“It’s really important that we use fun, awesome and engaging ways to have this conversation with our friends and family because it doesn’t have to be something that’s uncomfortable,” said Gagamsetti.

“The more we talk about it, the more comfortable we will become.”

The #CalgaryGetsConsent campaign was originally intended to keep consent top-of-mind during big events in the city, but Steve Fitterer, vice president of student affairs and campus life at MRU, said it’s an important message for post-secondary students to hear, too.

“We support this campaign on our campus because it strives to ensure consent is considered invaluable by everyone,” Fitterer said.

“Ultimately, we want to normalize conversations about consent and promote that this is a community that ensures all of our interactions are consensual and conducted through active and intentive [sic] communication.”

In March, MRU approved a Sexual Violence Response Policy to take an institutional stand against sexual violence and set out a clear reporting process regarding instances of sexual violence, as well as communicate what supports and resources are available on campus.

Fitterer said the campaign will help create a culture of consent on campus, and hopefully beyond.

“It’s important for us to provide our community with the resources and information they need to ensure they understand what healthy conduct is within all their relationships,” he said.

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