Saturday, September 30, 2023

William & Mary starts new campaign to teach students about consent

William & Mary is starting a new campaign to teach students about consent. (WYDaily/Flickr)
William & Mary is starting a new campaign to teach students about consent. (WYDaily/Flickr)

This fall, William & Mary is teaching students more than what’s in their textbooks.

They’re teaching them about consent.

“Consent is something I wish students would learn at a younger age,” said Lindsey Mosvick, W&M’s assistant director of health promotion and sexual violence prevention specialist. “But for some of our students, it’s the first time they’re interacting with this message.”

Mosvick is one of the brains behind the new “Let’s Get Consensual” campaign at William & Mary — it aims to teach students various aspects of understanding consent in their everyday lives.

The idea for the campaign came last spring from university President Katherine A. Rowe, Mosvick said. After a meeting between Rowe and an advisory group, Mosvick said Rowe asked if there was a way to emphasize consent campus-wide.

After that, the representatives from the Office of Health Promotion, the Haven, Health Outreach Peer Educators, Someone You Know, Student Assembly, Vox and Amnesty International came together to develop the Let’s Get Consensual campaign. The campaign will feature a different program promoting consent every two weeks throughout the fall semester.

“We really want William & Mary to have a culture of consent,” Mosvick said. “Because one way to prevent sexual violence is consent education. But also [it will] create a community of respect.”

The campaign will include programs such as “Consent Cab,” where participating students will drive other students around campus on a golf cart while they answer a series of trivia questions about consent. The idea behind these activities is to normalize consent, Mosvick said, so students don’t see it as something uncomfortable and formal.

“We want people to practice the skills and language, because I think students get stuck in formal mode and that’s not what consent looks like in the real world,” she said.

She said people might think consent is only about sex but it can take part in any aspect of life. Whether it be simply hugging someone or touching them in anyway, students should learn to respect boundaries and make others feel comfortable.

“The big emphasis around our skills training is to give people the power to communicate what it is exactly they do and don’t want,” Mosvick said.

Mosvick said while students learn about consent during their orientation, the program will take it a step further and dive into tougher topics such as consent and incapacitated individuals. 

“I think our overarching message around [consent] is that if you’re not sure if the person is okay, or you’re not sure if you have consent, then you don’t have consent,” she said.

While this is the first year of the program, Mosvick said she hopes it will continue to be an annual practice.

To track the success of the campaign, Mosvick said the organizations are monitoring social media interactions to see how students engage with the message.  

Social media is an important part of the campaign and organizers have even created a social media guide to help engage students.

As the program continues, Mosvick hopes organizers will learn how to improve and adapt it based on student response.

“I think one of our big goals with developing the campaign was to have heavy student involvement,” she said. “It’s been about students from day one and we want to make sure the message resonates.”

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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