Calgary·Video

University of Calgary's red light, green light game aims to set record

The game was organized to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus and educate incoming students about what consent looks like and sounds like.

Event aims to educate students about sexual consent on campus

University of Calgary students warm up before attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the largest red light, green light game. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The University of Calgary may just have set a new Guinness World Record for the largest game of red light, green light.

The game was organized to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus and educate incoming students about what consent looks like and sounds like.

The official record was set with 1,203 players, held by Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

The game was organized to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus and educate incoming students about what consent looks like and sounds like. 0:33

Nanako Furuyama, coordinator for the U of C's Women's Resource Centre, estimated 1,400 people turned out for Friday's attempt.

Sexual assault at universities has long been considered a taboo topic, said Furuyama, but events like these can help to erode that stigma.

"Through this kind of event, we try to normalize the conversation around consent and sexual assault so people feel safe coming out and getting help on campus," she said.

More and more students are getting comfortable talking about what sexual assault means, and also what consent looks like, says Nanako Furuyama, who has been with the Women's Resource Centre since 2007. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

'No means no'

As a first-year student, Reilly Thorpe said she was warned by friends and family to take extra precautions while on campus, particularly at night and because she is female. 

"It is a worry, but this makes me feel a bit safer that everyone's kind of knowing more about it," Thorpe said.

Steven Arcus, a first-year engineering student, said he was excited at the prospect of setting a new record, but said the overall message of promoting consent on campus is more important.

"It's really important to just be safe out there."

"If you're seen at a bar or something and you see something not really good happening, it's really important for bystanders to come in and intervene."

Alex Connick (left) and Steven Arcus were two of the roughly 1,400 students to participate in the University of Calgary's mass game of red light, green light. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

His friend, Alex Connick, agreed.

"Yes means yes. No means no. You just got to respect that. If you can't, go back to grade school."

Friday's event is part of a larger, three-year project by the university to create a culture of consent on campus.

With files from Kate Adach and Monty Kruger