On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Peer Health Educators and First Responder Network hosted their third annual SexFest, an afternoon of sexual wellness education located on the second floor of Montgomery Hall. Since October of 2011, the Wellness Education program has sponsored this event in order to promote education on contraceptive use, school and local responder networks, as well as sexual diversity and tolerance on campus. This year’s theme was “GO WILD,” with a variety of animal prints around each aspect of the festival. One student, who assisted in the event, junior Natalie Van Sant, explains how the theme helped create a more comfortable atmosphere for the event: “It is a place for us to talk about sex and how students can minimize their risk. This year’s jungle theme allowed us to approach these topics with less awkwardness and more humor.”
The event consisted of several tables and spreads of various aspects of sexual health; from STD puppets to aphrodisiac samples. There were also several other tables with guessing game questionnaires, testing people’s knowledge on STD prevention, animal mating calls, and some shocking statistics on sexual violence. Students such as sophomore Helena Klassen, who are involved with Peer Educators and the Green Dot program, helped run the event.
“SexFest is an event that attempts to educate students on the challenges and choices regarding sex and sexuality they will face in college, and the resources available on campus to help them.” Klassen helped to assist a line of tables that was covered with (dare we say?) cute and fuzzy cellular models of STDs.
“I think this event is really beneficial to our campus because it provides valuable information and allows students to learn about the resources available at St. Mary’s, including the student-based Peer Health Educators and First Responders. We are trained to be a source of information and assistance for our peers and it is really rewarding to know we are helping other students explore health topics in a fun and informative way,” Klassen said.
There was certainly no shortage of information provided at this event, as there were a variety of brochures, pamphlets, and even face-to-face factoids. Junior Nicole Jackson, a student who assisted in the event, explained the importance of the events timing in the school year. “The main purpose is to give the proper education and to remind students about safe sex practices just in time for Hallowgreens, which is considered to be in the ‘Red zone’ of increased sexual violence cases on campus.”
SexFest 2013 proved to be a success in promoting sexual safety this year. The best part about the event is its lighthearted take on a set of very relevant issues that are faced with sexuality in college.
If students are more interested in learning about safe sex practices they can easily utilize these on campus resources that are always at the ready to help!