Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT) strives to foster a comprehensive and academically-informed conversation about sex, sexuality, and relationships with the purpose of educating the University of Tennessee student body and the Knoxville community through innovative, collaborative, and entertaining programming and events.
We are the co-chairs of Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT), the student organization that plans Sex Week. Sex Week is an annual event in the spring semester at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but we hope to expand our organization to have a year-round presence. We would like to present our plans for Sex Week 2015 as well as our mission and goals as an organization.
We are a sex-positive organization, providing a platform for students to engage in an open conversation about sex, sexuality, gender identity, sexual orientation, relationships, and much more. The events will expose students to different aspects of sexuality in a variety of contexts--including cultural, political, religious, and economic--and will cover health, pleasure, and empowerment. The World Health Organization's definition of sexual health states that "sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence." We strive to ensure that our programming embodies these values by facilitating a respectful discussion that is both academically informed and medically accurate without neglecting issues of pleasure and safety.
Brianna Rader and Jacob Clark, co-founders of SEAT, set the following goals for the University of Tennessee: (1) To create a mandatory sexual assault prevention course for all incoming freshmen; (2) To create a comprehensive, public protocol for preventing and responding to sexual assault, to improve transparency; (3) To create a campus consent policy, establishing a concrete definition for the university to replace the current definition in HillTopics; and, (4) To develop a comprehensive amnesty policy, to encourage bystanders to be active in difficult situations, especially those involving alcohol. We are enthusiastic to work closely with every corner of campus to make these a reality.
Co-Chair, 2014 - 2015
Co-Chair, 2014 - 2015
The first Sex Week was held at Yale University in 2002, and Harvard, Brown, and other prestigious universities quickly adopted the tradition. Ten years later, the Issues Committee of the Central Programming Council brought Megan Andelloux, a prominent sexologist, to speak to Tennessee students on topics of sexuality. After an extremely warm reception, two UT students decided to collaborate to expand and bring Sex Week to the University of Tennessee, making our school one of the first ten universities in the country to host a Sex Week.
The two co-founders felt strongly about bringing this program to the University of Tennessee and the state of Tennessee because of the need for more openness and justice around these issues, in addition to the fact that opportunities to discuss these topics are rare. Appreciating the diversity and unity of the human experience entails understanding the range of sexual and gender identities we hold and express, and how these are shaped by culture, politics, religion, the environment, and even the economy. College is about education and thoughtful discussion, and that includes important topics like sex and sexuality.
SEAT's First Annual Sex Week in 2013 was successful with 4,000 attendees. We received quite a bit of media attention after losing two-thirds of our funding two and a half weeks before the event. This decision was made by UT administrators in reaction to upset state legislators. SEAT was able to privately fundraise the lost funding in 36 hours with the public's help and went on to host a very successful event.
Advocate for a comprehensive understanding of sex and sexuality and cultivate dialogue on these topics.
Create programming and facilitate discussions that are inclusive of all beliefs and ideas in order to create a safe environment for open dialogue.
Ensuring academic soundness by including all perspectives and crossing traditional boundaries.
Positive reception of others' sexual expression regardless of personal views and embracement of sexuality as fundamental to the human experience.
Encourage exposure in an effort to help one's self and one's peers enhance awareness, knowledge, and understanding in order to become empowered individuals.
SEAT will strive to remain honest and diligent in our functioning and work.