Let me tell you that from looking at me you wouldn’t guess that I’d be the guy to drop his backpack only to have a few hundred condoms fall out of it and scatter all over the terrace. If you knew me however, you would know that I work with the office of health education and the health outreach peer educators as the vice president in charge of the sexual health branch.
Coming into college I had no idea that I would become so passionate about sexual health and health education. When I arrived at the college one of the many groups dedicated to protecting reproductive rights and encouraging healthy sexuality reached out to me. The more I got involved, the more I learned that the nation is in a perilous situation. In Virginia alone there is almost no regulation on what sexual health education is offered to students in high school. I’m from Chesapeake, VA and the public school system there offered a relatively comprehensive sexual health education course that steered away from fear tactics and abstinence only techniques. Our teachers were even inclusive enough to reach out to the LGBT community in my high school to make sure that students were learning healthy and safe habits.
This isn’t the norm. I was lucky that my teachers and school system supported developing a healthy sexuality when I was young. Many schools do not have this. Some schools still refuse to teach students how to be safe while also recognizing the fact that students can be both healthy and sexually active.
I don’t mean to be judgmental of anyone’s personal beliefs, but it terrifies me that students don’t come into college with knowledge about how to protect themselves. You may not want to wash your hands, because you find it morally offensive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to protect yourself against germs. It’s just a thought.
Anyway, this all brings me to what I’m doing with my life on campus. When I realized that this basic information wasn’t being given to students, I became concerned. When I realized that I had the ability to get this information to the people who need it, I became inspired. Now I work with the health outreach peer educators and the office of health education to teach students that they have the ability to protect themselves while enjoying a healthy, respectful sexuality.
If that means that every once in a while I’m the kid carrying a few hundred condoms around campus to give away, so be it. I’ll happily do whatever it takes to make this campus the safe, healthy place that I know it can and should be.