HERC to promote consent through pizza

Mallory Kutnick, Kutnick

Students will learn about sexual consent by comparing it to ordering a pizza at a lecture presented by the Health Education Research Center.

“Sex is Like Pizza” is the latest implementation of “What is Consent?”, a series of lectures, presentations and activities by the HERC 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Casey Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Courtney Carver, mental health promotion coordinator at the HERC, said both consent and pizza require open communication to understand exactly what the other party wants and a lack of approval from anyone involved will result in unhappiness at best.

An activity at the lecture will have attendees paired together to decide what to include on their own small, felt pizzas.

By discussing their individual likes and dislikes and compromising on felt cutouts shaped like pepperoni and sausage, the pairs will practice healthy techniques of communication that Carver hopes will make them more comfortable asking for consent.

“Asking for consent is less comfortable than agreeing on toppings,” Carver said.

Carver will also lead discussion and play videos about bystander intervention, which she and all HERC graduate assistants are trained in.

Carver was halfway finished with her first semester as mental health promotion coordinator this past fall when interim HERC director Amanda Harvey received an email suggesting the “Sex is Like Pizza” program.

“Schools nationwide talk frequently about programming, what works and what doesn’t work,” Harvey said.

“Sex is Like Pizza” worked, as Carver found out over the remainder of last semester. She first implemented the program as an activity presented privately in classes that wished to participate and more professors began requesting it.

Now Carver and the HERC are moving forward, with Tuesday’s event being their first open session on the topic of consent.

The program will also cover sexuality and promote resources available to students. In a revamp of the original program suggested in the email, Carver said she hopes to open her audience up to various local and national support services for sexual and domestic violence, self-care and stress management.

Along with the HERC, resources for mental health include Health Service, the Counseling Center and the Office of Student Standards. Off-campus resources include the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service, Crisis Hour and Housing, Outreach, Prevention and Education for those who have experienced domestic violence.

Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].