“How might we better support students from international pathways to learn more about relationships and boundaries in an intercultural Canadian context?”

To address this question Paola Quirós-Cruz, an educator with the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO), and Precious Ile, a former SFU Student Services staff member, took inspiration from the card game We’re Not Really Strangers to create their own card game. Working with the SVSPO, the pair collaborated with other creators at SFU and FIC to give us InterroBang.

Precious Ile is a seasoned TEDx speaker, spoken word poet, educator, and an entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and partner at award-winning management consultancy firm Impact Plus, which helps organizations develop a clear direction and actionable goals through authentic, people-centered engagement. She holds a Master's degree in Community Development from the University of Victoria. She's also an SFU alum, having completed her Bachelor's degree in Criminology, and a former SFU staff member.

Paola Quirós-Cruz is one of the educators at the SFU's Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office. She is from Colombia and before moving to Canada, she finished her degree as a journalist. In her current role at the SVSPO she facilitates education and outreach initiatives for SFU and FIC undergrad and grad students. Paola also coordinates the Active Bystander Network, the SVSPO’s student leader volunteer group. Paola’s commitment as an educator is to center the voices of equity deserving groups and find creative strategies to foster communities of care.

“I think it is important to understand that the codes of relating and connecting with others are different in each culture,” says Paola. “Interrobang is a tool to invite students to increase a sense of comfort and empathy by connecting through meaningful conversations on topics such as consent, relationships, boundaries, upbringing, friendship, and more. Gaining appreciation for diverse perspectives could help us to better support conversations on relationships and boundaries.”

Precious and Paola’s game concept, originally called Brave Hearts, helped students explore topics such as relationships, boundaries, consent, and identity in a fun, engaging and thought-provoking way. They also partnered with students from Fraser International College, the Active Bystander Network, and SFU’s Global Student Centre to understand the different types of topics and questions International students were interested in learning more about. To turn the concept of the game into a reality, the SVSPO team joined forces with graphic designer, Tucky Aalto and created a second iteration of Brave Hearts with new gameplay and new questions. And so, InterroBang was born!

"InterroBang is a captivating game that allows you to have fun while answering questions regarding a variety of topics including interests, boundary setting, personal experiences, and more!"

More than a game, an opportunity for empathy and self-reflection

InterroBang is more than an average card game. Through its thoughtful questions and different levels, InterroBang seeks to foster empathy, engagement, and enlightenment among peers by encouraging them to come together in their differences and similarities. It gives players an opportunity to share their own thoughts, experiences and opinions on various topics such as identity, relationships, boundaries, consent, culture.

What makes InterroBang even more unique is the content filtering feature, where prior to starting the game, players have the option of filtering the cards to remove any categories they might be uncomfortable with. This feature of the game gives players autonomy over the topics to be discussed, and it is essential to the trauma-informed design of the game.

"Fun, engaging and very thoughtfully designed game allowing room for consent of players on topics to explore together and engage in respectful discourse. What a lovely way to start conversations on some tough and personal topics!"

Since the launch of InterroBang on March 1, the SVSPO has also collaborated with various student groups such as #KnowYourSFU and the Global Connections Program to host InterroBang parties, recognizing events as an additional way for students to connect with their communities and be involved on campus, particularly for students who are staying away from home to attend SFU.

During these sessions, students who may or may have not known one and another played InterroBang. Each step in the gameplay prompted them to step out of their comfort zone to build meaningful connections while creating a safe space for others. They had the opportunity to reflect on their thoughts and opinions, and bond over similar (as well as different!) experiences. As students moved onto higher levels in the game with bolder questions, they had the chance to truly introspect and delve into complex issues that brought them together as a group.

“I wish I could purchase this game!” – Member, Active Bystander Network

All staff, faculty and students are welcome to borrow InterroBang from the SVSPO for 15 days. So far, the game has been successful in establishing connections among students from different faculties at SFU, and it can be used as a great resource for more events, game nights, and team building for the entire SFU community.

About the author: Ira Rishi is an undergraduate student at SFU pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Counselling and Human Development. She is currently the Program Assistant with the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office and has supported multiple InterroBang parties since the launch of the game.