Respect is vital and consent is key.
These powerful words are at the heart of Niagara College’s campaign to prevent sexual violence, and are spoken by staff and students in a new video spreading the vital message across campus and beyond.
Just in time for fall term, the College – in partnership with the Student Administrative Council – has freshly relaunched its Consent is Key campaign, with a new video, a new website, new capabilities through the College’s mobile safety app, and more.
The new Consent is Key video zooms in on how students and staff are all involved in the prevention of sexual assault and violence. Its strong messaging emphasizes what consent is – the voluntary and explicit agreement to engage in sexual activity – as well as what it is not, underlining that silence or non-communication cannot be interpreted as consent.
“The goal for the video is to convey a message of empowerment for helping fellow NC students and staff,” said Lianne Gagnon, director of Student Services. “Thus, the video is intended to be impactful and conjure a desire for action against sexual violence.”
The video features familiar faces across NC campuses, including Hafsah Shaikh, Student Rights and Responsibilities officer; Ryan Huckla, SAC president; Michelle MacIntosh, Counsellor; Charles Ahanonu, International Student Advisor; as well as students Amara Bates (Child and Youth Care); Cassey Fevriere (Computer Programmer Analyst Co-op); Daniela Vilanova (Journalism); and Melinda Vegter (Honours Bachelor of Business Administration Human Resources). Students were selected after responding to a casting call which asked them for a 30-second video about why sexual violence awareness was an important topic.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be part of this video as it is a proactive approach to speaking up against sexual violence,” said Shaikh, who developed the vision for the video as well as the new website. “The video serves the campaign by capturing people’s attention for just a few minutes during which they walk away with an empowered feeling to look out for one another. “
In addition to being showcased on the new website, the video is featured on the College’s YouTube page and is
being promoted via social media.
A collaborative effort between the Student Services and Marketing departments, the new user-friendly Consent is Key website amplifies the campaign’s online presence, replacing its former page on the NC site. It was designed to make it easier for those impacted by sexual violence to seek help and access resources they feel would work best for them via tabs on the home page. A ‘get involved’ tab encourages students to develop and participate in college initiatives that align with the campaign.
As part of the campaign relaunch, the College’s Mobile Safety App has also been upgraded, making it possible for students to file sexual violence complaints.
The Consent is Key campaign was in the spotlight during Orientation Week. The video was played during program information sessions as well as during sexual violence awareness training provided to residence advisors, orientation leade
rs, and SAC student centre staff. New Consent is Key postcards listing on- and off-campus resources were placed in all orientation swag bags and electronic versions on USB sticks were also distributed.
“My hope is for everyone in the College community – including students and staff – to be aware of and stand by the Consent is Key campaign,” said Shaikh. “I also hope to run more initiatives during the academic year by receiving ideas and input from students.”
The Consent is Key campaign was originally launched in 2015, following the implementation of NC’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy.
President Dan Patterson noted that the initiatives demonstrate that the College continues to be proactive in providing a safe and respectful learning community.
“Through this policy and the Consent is Key campaign, the College has taken an important step to promote safe campuses, which helps reinforce the role we must all play in preventing sexual violence,” said Patterson.
Visit www.niagaracollege.ca/consentiskey for more information.
Link to Consent is Key website
Link to download Mobile Safety App