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UPrep Hosted Inaugural Student Organized Consent Conference in Seattle (SOCCS) in February
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Students Ilwad, Paige, and Auggie, 10th grade, talk about helping run UPrep's first Student Organized Consent Conference in Seattle.

UPrep Hosted Inaugural Student Organized Consent Conference in Seattle (SOCCS) in February
Read a Q&A with UPrep students about this youth-led conference

On February 10, UPrep hosted the first Student Organized Consent Conference in Seattle (SOCCS). This youth-led conference for students in grades 8–12, educators, and parents/guardians featured a survivors’ panel, affinity spaces, workshops about building cultures of consent at schools and beyond, and a keynote from New York Times–bestselling author Chanel Miller.

Chanel Miller and UPrep student Wynne at SOCCS

Chanel Miller, author of Know My Name, was interviewed by student Wynne J.

Planning for this conference began over a year ago, after UPrep student leaders Hana H., Maddie T., Patrick N., and Wynne J. (now 12th-grade students) attended the 2022 Georgetown Day School Summit on Sexual Assault and Consent (GDS Summit) in Washington, D.C. and decided that they wanted to host a similar conference in Seattle. More than 200 people attended SOCCS, including a group of student leaders from the GDS Summit. To learn more about the first annual SOCCS, we talked with 10th-grade students Paige J., Ilwad M., and Auggie R. They all attended the 2023 GDS Summit and helped run SOCCS.

Why was attending the 2023 GDS Summit remarkable for you?

Auggie: When I heard the GDS Summit’s keynote speaker Katie Koestner tell her story, it was the first time I ever heard a sexual assault victim share her story in detail. It was extremely moving, and it made me empathetic toward her and anyone who has gone through something like that.

Ilwad: I’d never been to a conference where people speak out about their own experiences. It was astonishing and I was very happy to see other students like me come together and try to make change.

Paige: It was an impactful experience for me to see students working toward an issue that is so prevalent. The leaders of SOCCS met with leaders from the GDS Summit to talk about how to start and improve our summit. I know that GDS Summit leaders also plan to talk with us about how they can improve their summit. Mutual assistance is super important.

Tell me about your role in SOCCS.

Ilwad M., second from right, and Patrick N., on right, interviewed the survivor's panel.

Students Ilwad M. and Patrick N., on the right, interviewed the survivor's panel.

Paige: This year, I was a volunteer and helped where needed. I hope to expand my role next year. My sister, Wynne, was a student leader and it was interesting to see her experience compared with mine, which was more of a mentee role.

Ilwad: I also was a volunteer and hope to expand my role next year. I was the interviewer for the survivors’ panel, which was a really good experience for me.

Auggie: After attending the GDS Summit, I started attending the SOCCS planning meetings and I volunteered on the day of the event. It was nice to be involved and feel like I was making a difference.

What was one thing you learned at SOCCS?

Ilwad: I learned how storytelling can be shown in many ways, from making zines to creating videos. Chessy Prout, one of the Activism Through Storytelling workshop leaders, talked about making a video that shared her experience.

Auggie: The most meaningful part of my day was also the Activism Through Storytelling workshop. The video Chessy made about her own experience was vivid. It made me think and expanded my empathy.

Paige: In my first workshop, I learned about the experience of people at public schools who are trying to teach consent. They have a group called The Consent Collective that spans many public schools in the Seattle Public School community. They work together as one collective to be a stronger, more impactful group.

What do you hope participants experienced at SOCCS?

UPrep alum Chris McCarty ’22  spoke about consent in the digital age

UPrep alum Chris McCarty ’22 spoke about consent in the digital age.

Ilwad: I wanted people to leave feeling empowered to make change. There was a visitor from California who came to learn how she could work toward helping her school community create a culture of consent.

Paige: I hoped the participants learned a lot and that they felt like they had a safe space to bring their own opinions, insights, and experiences. We had one participant who is an educator from Montreal. Next year, she hopes to bring some students from her all-boys school, which would be amazing. It would be great to see more male students at SOCCS.

Auggie: I hope the participants had a moving experience similar to my experience at the GDS Summit. It was so nice to have my community around me and see consent conversations happening here.

What is your hope for building a culture of consent at UPrep?

Ilwad: Right now, consent isn’t common or normalized. In the future, I hope that consent will be a regular habit that people find important.

Paige: I hope that someday we don’t need a conference like SOCCS. We are very far away from that, but I hope consent becomes a norm and not something that is overlooked and undervalued.

Auggie: I want everyone to have consent in their minds when something requires it, including but not only in relationships. A simple example of consent is asking if a chair is occupied at a table in the Commons when you want to move it to another table.

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT HOW MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY LEAD A LIFE OF LEARNING HERE.

Headshot photograph of University Prep writer and editor, Nancy Alton

By Writer/Editor Nancy Schatz Alton

 



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