Cupids counsel consent for Valentine’s Day

Cupids+counsel+consent+for+Valentine%27s+Day

Akasha Khalsa

Cupid’s Consent brings some important components of “The Talk” to NMU students on Feb. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. in 2303 Hedgcock in an event put on by the Multicultural Education and Resource Center (MERC) and the Student Social Work Organization (SSWO).

Cupid’s Consent is the brainchild of MERC Jump Start Team Leader and SSWO President Ravyn Rooney. Although it was planned to debut around Valentine’s Day in 2019, a snow day interfered with its completion. This year will therefore be the first time it is held.

“I think that talking about consent in college is a little late, but it’s better late than never,” Rooney said. “So I’ve always wanted to do something fun on this topic because it can be triggering for some people, since a lot of people have been affected by sexual assault.”

As part of the Sexual Assault Taskforce Committee on campus, Rooney could not be more aware of the complex issues surrounding consent at college. 

“With some people, the lines are very gray, and so that’s our job to kind of clear this up,” Rooney said. “But I wanted to dive deeper.”

Although dealing with assault is not one of the issues directly addressed by Cupid’s Consent, it is aimed at bringing awareness to what healthy relationships look like, as well as what consent is defined as on campus and in Michigan law. As it is a health promotion and social event, Rooney said she hopes it will be a fun way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

The MERC is tasked with hosting several events every semester under the categories of diversity, academic, career and social topics. Cupid’s Consent will be a social event and will include a quick powerpoint followed by socializing with food and refreshments. The powerpoint presentation includes info on what consent is, the laws around it and healthy relationships. There will be goody bags, candy and condom hand-outs.

As part of Jump Start, a grant-funded program through the state aimed at assisting academically and economically disadvantaged students, the event is targeted towards Jump Start students, although it is available to all students who reserve a spot.

“I would like to have a good mix of both, because it doesn’t matter who you are; everyone should be able to hear this information and have fun,” Rooney said.

She said she expects approximately 20 to 25 people in attendence, as such events have been hit or miss in the past. However, she feels Cupid’s Consent has been promoted well and will likely attract a small crowd despite the emotionally charged topic.

“Like I said, this is a pretty sensitive topic, so some people might not be at the availability of understanding or taking in this information yet, so we’re hoping to attract a small crowd,” Rooney said.