Wellness Centre’s ‘Consent Tea’ sets table for open communication in relationships

Get your teacups ready for a morning of education, activities and snacks

TRU students and staff are invited to the ninth annual Consent Tea on Nov. 15, as the Wellness Centre continues its work to provide students with a safe environment to discuss sexualized violence and the importance of consent.

This peer-led event will be held at Student Street in front of Old Main from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students and staff can enjoy drinks and snacks while learning about relationships in different spectrums.

Lara Romero Iglesias, a new Wellness Ambassador this semester, was tasked with organizing the event alongside several other volunteers. This semester, the event will consist of five tables, each with a different focus.

Each table will have information pamphlets, activities and kits participants can take home. Iglesias said the main goal is to keep students entertained and engaged with the event’s content.

While the Wellness Centre will host the Consent Tea, they have invited some special guests presenting different perspectives on this year’s themes — communication in relationships and consent. 

“This event, especially, is really important in bringing awareness to issues people might face in a relationship, and we have all worked hard with the coordinators to make it happen,” Iglesias said.

On the list of guests scheduled to attend are Doe Thomas and Tanya Pawlik. 

Doe, a member of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (TteS) band, has collaborated with the Wellness Centre and will discuss the relationship between consent and colonization. Elsewhere, Pawlik, the program coordinator for the School of Social Work and Human Services, will share tips on open communication methods and consent.

In addition to guests Thomas and Pawlik, a representative from the Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPR) will attend the event, providing extra support. The SVPR offers educational opportunities related to sexualized and intimate partner violence to members of the TRU community.

For Iglesias, collaborating with such a diverse group of individuals to share their collective knowledge on different areas makes these events essential, enabling open discussions on consent, which otherwise might not happen.

“TRU being such an international school sometimes makes it hard for students to learn about consent and the way good relationships work,” said Iglesias, an international student. “We might not know certain things about consent because maybe we were not taught about it.”

With just a week to go, Iglesias said she is ready to see students’ responses to the event. 

“I’m just excited to be able to speak with students, with staff [and] with whoever comes to a table. Just having those conversations and talking about [consent].”