Students can win movie passes, play games and decorate cookies all while learning about consent at the Center of Advocacy Response and Education’s event on Thursday.
CARE will host “Condoms, Cookies and Consent” in the Nebraska Union ballroom Feb. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event aims to promote conversation about consent, sexuality and sexually transmitted infections, and it includes booths from different campus organizations, such as Big Red Resilience & Well-Being and the University Health Center, as well as community organizations like the Nebraska AIDS project and Planned Parenthood.
According to CARE victim advocate Melissa Wilkerson, the goal of the event is to provide students with a comfortable environment to learn more about these issues. The event will have information about the organizations involved, games like bean bag toss and a plethora of candy and other prizes.
“I think we’re excited to just get the message out and truly educate people about what consent is and how to obtain consent,” CARE victim advocate Lanie Stutz said. “It’s also fun, and people can learn and hopefully get some good snacks and wonderful prizes.”
According to Wilkerson, this event is CARE’s biggest partnership event since the office opened a year and a half ago. She said she believes it will be a good learning opportunity for students since a variety of organizations will be at the event.
“I think that it's intended to be fun, but it's also intended to be introductory,” Wilkerson said. “You're not going to leave the event an expert in all things. But you're certainly going to leave there with a wide variety of resources to get the conversation started.”
The peculiar name for the event comes from a national program called Consent and Cookies, which uses a cookie decorating exercise to practice consent, according to Stutz.
“While you are decorating cookies with other people, you're talking about consent and asking ‘Do you like this kind of sprinkle? ‘How many sprinkles do you like? Is this your favorite kind of frosting? Well, how much frosting do you like?’” Stutz said. “We’re using that program to start a conversation about consent.”
The hope of the event is that students will be able to use the low-pressure environment to ask questions that they might not ask otherwise, according to Stutz.
The event is also a great opportunity to have fun while learning about these heavy topics, CARE intern Christina Berger said.
“If I'm coming into the event, and I don't know anything about STI testing or Planned Parenthood, I can come in and get that information while doing a bean bag toss or decorating a cookie,” Berger said. “I think it's a really good, fun and positive environment to learn that through versus a lot of these conversations that are usually really heavy.”
Since the office is new on campus, Wilkerson said the CARE staff hopes the event will inform students about its resources. According to Wilkerson, the CARE office is a confidential resource on campus that isn’t obligated to report to law enforcement or Title IX. The staff often helps victims of sexual assault, abusive relationships, stalking and harassment.
Wilkerson said the event could be a good way to connect the office with those victims.
“The event is a way that people are getting to know us but not having to walk through the door and take that step on your own,” Wilkerson said. “You're getting to do it in a fun, interactive environment first, so that if and when you do need to walk through the door, you'll know who's going to be here.”