Freshman SHAG (Student Health Advocacy Group) member Victoria Klimaj first discovered sex columnist Dan Savage at age 14.
“I was at this camp in DC…and they had this free alternative weekly newspaper lying around because it was a college campus… I started flipping through it and me and my camp roommates started reading Dan Savage’s column and they were kind of freaked out by him. I just got really intrigued and so I’ve been reading him ever since,” she said.
That experience planted the seed that would lead to Klimaj’s successful effort to bring the speaker to campus.
At the beginning of winter term, Klimaj suggested Savage to the organization.
“We just kind of thought of Dan [Savage] and we had a speaker,” she said.
From there, she began to raise the funds necessary to support the event.
With contributions from Lo Nuestro, Union Board, Student Senate and Sigma Chi, Klimaj amassed $12,000.
“Lots of e-mailing,” she said was a big part of raising the funds. “Once I started getting the money, there really wasn’t any going back.”
Klimaj noted that there has been some misconception about the purpose of the speaker. Despite recent events on campus, said Klimaj, Savage will not be discussing sexual violence.
“It’s really just like a sex positive event and just discuss whatever positive issues they feel like discussing,” she said. “I think any campus involvement in events that try to stop sexual violence are fantastic and I think we should have those absolutely, but I think this also adds to that whole dialogue. I think any time people are discussing sex in a positive way that helps the community in preventing not-good sex.”
The Knox community is a great place for Savage to speak, according to Klimaj, because of its openness and willingness to ask personal questions.
“[Savage] doesn’t make up answers to please people, which I think is really cool,” she said. “He doesn’t really hold back on anything.”
His column and podcast have had a significant impact on her life.
“Dan Savage may have actually sparked my early interest in the things that led me to SHAG eventually,” she said.
She went on to comment on her officer position. “It’s something that doesn’t sound like ‘condom distributor,’ but it is condom distributor.”
This event may lead SHAG to bring a speaker to campus annually. Members of the organization have already begun to discuss potential candidates.
Those interested are encouraged to visit the event’s Facebook page. The majority of the talk will consist of an anonymous question-and-answer.
Those interested in submitting questions can e-mail Victoria Klimaj at firstname.lastname@example.org anonymously by logging into email@example.com, password 1234567a, or drop a question in her K-Box, Box 853.
The event will take place Friday, May 7 in Kresge Recital Hall at 7 p.m. Check out Dan Savage’s column and podcast at http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove.