Over the past two weeks, Advocates for Choice held SEX tED Talks meant to supplement first years’ sexual education.
The talks were offered as an RA program for freshmen. Each set of residents had their own scheduled talk in Wilson House to create a neutral, safe space where the students would feel comfortable. The talks covered a variety of topics including safe sex practices, how to set boundaries in a variety of relationships and enthusiastic consent. They are also focused on making the workshops informative to students with a variety of sexual orientations, as well by explaining different kinds of sexuality and trying to create a safe space.
At the end of the talk, the students get to take home a safer sex supplies box which includes a variety of items which encourage students to practice safe sex. There is even a QR code on the box that links to a WordPress created by Advocates for Choice with additional information and resources.
Advocates for Choice Presidents senior Rachel Kuehnle and junior Amber Simon said that they decided to create these talks upon their realization of the many holes present in their own sexual education from high school.
“Especially coming into college, which is a whole new environment where you might not know a lot. You’re all coming from different backgrounds and different environments,” Kuehnle said. “And how almost all of the positive information that we learned was from peers.”
All of the talks were peer led and facilitated to create a safe space for the students involved. The students leading the talks came from a group of 10 facilitators who applied to be a part of the program Fall Term.
Senior Erica Witzig wanted to be a part of the project as soon as she heard about it.
“I was immediately interested, because this very much aligns with my values of feminism and sexual autonomy and things like that. So, I reached out to Rachel and figured out how I could get involved,” Witzig said.
Witzig is a facilitator and was able to teach one section to a group of all females, who she said were very talkative.
“The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Even more than I thought it would be,” Witzig said.
Sophomore Annalyn Chia, secretary of the Student Health Advocacy Group, is another one of the facilitators for this project.
“I have an interest in public health. So any way to educate students and help them keep themselves safer was my main goal, but with the curriculum it became more inclusive of queer and trans issues, which are also really important,” Chia said.
She facilitated two sections this term, one coed and one with all female students. She said both went very well.
Senior Cassie McLaughlin, an RA who attended a talk with her residents, found the talk to be very informative.
“It was different than sex ed in high school in that it was a lot more fun, a lot more honest and open and it was really inclusive, which really struck me,” McLaughlin said. “During Orientation week, they talk about consent a lot, but I think this took a step back and covered everything related to sexual activity.”
Although the talks are over for this year, Kuehnle and Simon hope to continue this program next year. They plan to ask for facilitators Fall Term and then hold the talks for a two-week period in the winter for first year students.
“Yes, this is our first year doing this, but it was a really solid first run and I’m really proud of everything we did,” Simon said. “It seems really effective for a lot of people.”