STANFORD (KPIX 5) – When students at Stanford gather for a traditional on-campus make-out session Wednesday evening, the event will have a different mood with the raised awareness about sexual harassment.
Organizers say Wednesday night’s event has been toned-down compared to years past.
For the past century, every year Stanford students have carried on an unusual tradition. They meet in the quad under a full moon to make new friends, maybe share a hug and kiss more than a few strangers.
The annual event is called “Full Moon on the Quad,” but it has also been described as an orgy of inter-class kissing.
When asked what it was it like kissing a total stranger, organizer Tashrima Hossain laughed and said, “I’d say it’s a lot of excitement.”
Hossain and her co-organizer Tony Moller are also junior class presidents.
They say the “#metoo” movement, the “#timesup” movement and the Brock Turner sexual assault case have heightened awareness around this year’s event. Those things have also helped shape some of the recent changes.
Participants will continue the exchange white roses that symbolizes gratitude, a change that was first made in 2017.
There will also be a focus once again on getting affirmative consent before proceeding.
“The notion is that regardless of whether it’s a platonic or non-platonic interaction, consent on both sides is really important to know that it’s pleasurable and appreciative for all,” said Hossain.
It wasn’t always like this.
When it first started back in the early 1900s, the tradition was for freshmen women to meet during the first full moon of the year and receive their first kiss ever from a male senior.
“One of the big differences between how Full Moon on the Quad used to be and how it is now is the focus on this portion of Stanford culture. Asking consent, receiving verbal consent. And the proceeding to having a good time,” said Moller.
This year, the event will not have a DJ, because of the dance-club vibe it creates. Instead, there will be a live jazz band.
Organizers will also moving away from the so-called “mouthwash table” which also created a bar-like atmosphere.
When asked what would say to people who criticize the changes and argue the event is being watered down and made boring, Hossain replied, “That’s a great point. Anytime something changes a little bit people who have experienced previous iteration of the event, tend to be critical. The student body hasn’t been particularly critical, saying it’s been watered down. But rather they understand why we’re making the changes that we are.”
The quad will be cordoned off for the event with security checking identification for anyone attending the student-only event.