Jonathan Kalin ’14 was walking to the Alfond Athletic Center to meet his basketball teammates in early April when he received an unusual phone call.
It was Time magazine.
A reporter wanted to talk with Kalin about Party With Consent, the sexual violence awareness movement he started at Colby in 2012. That led to an article in Time and then, two weeks later, Kalin was included with Vice President Joe Biden as one of only 15 essayists in a Time online section on campus sexual assault.
Kalin’s movement, Party With Consent, aims to prevent sexual violence through events, merchandise, and education. He said it is an effort to affirm healthy sexual behavior and promote authentic relationships, and that students stand the best chance of changing campus culture.
“There is a difficulty that comes with fifty-year-old deans telling students what they can and can’t do during sex.”
“There is a difficulty that comes with fifty-year-old deans telling students what they can and can’t do during sex,” Kalin said. “Students react more to what their peers validate than what their deans demonize.”
The recent formation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault—and the announcement that 55 institutions will be investigated for mishandling assault cases—has shined a spotlight on the issue of sexual violence on college campuses.
Against that backdrop, Party With Consent is gaining momentum. The T-shirts bearing the brightly colored Party With Consent logo—prominent on Colby’s campus for years—are now also visible at Williams, Cornell, Dartmouth, and other schools. Kalin has spoken about Party With Consent at Denison University and the International Student House in Washington, D.C., and he intends to apply for nonprofit status and to continue to build the movement’s reach.
Kalin said part of what makes Party With Consent successful is that it bridges campus cultures. Whether students are athletes, activists, artists, or entrepreneurs, they can agree upon and share the Party With Consent message.
“Nobody wants to be in a community with sexual violence,” he said.