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ZBT to teach consent with massive game of red light, green light

Luca Silveira | Hatchet Photographer
Luca Silveira | Hatchet Photographer

Zeta Beta Tau is bringing a summer camp game to campus – but with a consent-driven objective.

The fraternity will host a large game of red light, green light, in University Yard on Oct. 24 – part of its broader focus on sexual assault prevention. The program will include chapters at the University of Maryland and Towson and American universities.

The game, called “Green Light, Go!” is supposed to be a playful way to engage students and address consent, Nick Carr, the president of Zeta Beta Tau, said.

“The concept’s pretty simple. If you ever were a kid and played red light, green light, it’s that, around the topic of sexual assault. Respecting the signals and knowing the signals: red is stop, green is go, and yellow is also supposed to be stop, you know, just like at any traffic light,” he said. “You’re not supposed to run through a red.”

The object of the game is to be the first one across a field. Carr added that the goal is to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest red light, green light ever played. The record is currently 1,203 participants at Willamette University.

The fraternity will also promote the game through a week of discussion on social media, part of the fraternity’s national Let’s Get Real Campaign which aims to start frank conversations about sexual assault, Carr said. He and other student leaders have planned a “peer-led conversation” in the Marvin Center that week.

During the week, posters with bold green or red traffic lights on them will be hung around campus, Carr said. The posters will pose questions like, “Why do girls have to watch their drinks at parties?” and, “When was the last time you actually asked a girl to dance?”

In 2014, Zeta Beta Tau started a program with Sigma Delta Tau sorority and Jewish Women International to encourage ‘safe dating.’ The program included a one-day workshop about consent and sexual assault.

Carr said that while the joint program is helpful, it “doesn’t go far enough.”

“It’s not student-run. It’s not peer-to-peer. We should be addressing the problem ourselves,” he said.

Sexual assault within the Greek community has been a focus of leaders throughout the last year, after a sexual assault was reported in the Phi Sigma Kappa townhouse last September. At least six reports of sexual assault in Greek townhouses have been made over the last three years.

In April, about 300 members of Greek life attended a sexual assault prevention workshop hosted by Sigma Chi that drew criticism for what some attendees called problematic language and inappropriate commentary.

“[Sexual assault] is a terrible stigma attached to our community. That has nothing to do with our community. That’s a terrible thing a part of every college campus, Greek life or not, that happens,” Carr said.

Both Carr and Interfraternity Council President Keaton White said the IFC has asked chapters to take the lead with sexual assault prevention programming like “Green Light, Go!”

“Because the IFC itself is a small organization, we look to our member fraternities to take the lead on programming,” White said in an email. “We couldn’t be more happy that one of our fraternities is taking this on and can’t wait to see what they will bring.”

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