The University of Connecticut helps to raise awareness about sexual health and wellness through their yearly Sexual Health and Wellness Fair. It was hosted this past Wednesday and consisted of multiple student and community organizations that provide services and information to those who wish to learn more.
UConn Praxis is a student organization that works to better the lives of students on campus through campaigns, advocacy and proactive discussions.
“This semester we had our public health campaign with a focus on period product accessibility, specifically in April,” says second-semester political science and sociology double major Jack Tyler. “We have been running a period product donation drive and at the end of the semester we will be donating them to local women’s shelters because even though they are accessible on campus, off campus it’s even harder to get them.”
The period product drive will be open until the end of the semester for anyone who wishes to donate.
Another organization that was at the fair was Minority Health Matters, which advocates for the health of minorities.
“We just try to spread awareness and inform people how [they] can advocate for [themselves] when [they] need to, especially in doctor’s offices and things like that,” says their treasurer.
There are numerous reasons as to why one would no longer trust the health care system, and thus not participate in health-screenings or regulatory visits. One of these reasons is because of the stigma that comes along with testing.
“Our question today was, ‘why do you think one might be hesitant to receive a sexual health screening?’ and a lot of people have been saying because of the stigma or the fact that their parents will find out, or even what happens if it’s positive,” she says. “We have to look at it in a bigger light; you’re trying to be healthy, you’re trying to make sure others are healthy too.”
Revolution Against Rape is one of many organizations that dedicates their work to allowing students to feel safe on campus.
“What we do is foster awareness [about] sexual violence and rape culture and its effects on UConn specifically and within our community.” says Vice President Grian Wizner. “We try to make a community where everyone is heard, everyone is loved, everyone is safe because a lot of times, especially on campus, that is not always the case.”
Throughout the year, Revolution Against Rape hosts many events, including the March to End Victim Blaming that took place on April 8 and the Dollars for Denim Day that will take place on April 27. To learn more, visit them on Instagram at @uconnrar.
One of the most prominent organizations on campus is the UConn Women’s Center. Among other services and programs, the Women’s Center has the goal of preventing violence against women and gender-based violence on UConn’s campus.
“A lot of our student workers are leading different groups, educating the student body and starting the conversation,” says eighth-semester sociology major Ally Fannon. “We do a lot of survivor support with our group In-Power, which is also led by two of our leaders and is a safe space for all of campus’s survivors to have a community with each other that is really important.”
The host of the entire fair is Sexperts, a group of 10 students that promote positive sexual health education so that individuals can make the best decision they can for themselves.
“People can make the best choices when they have all the information available to them,” says eighth-semester human development and family sciences major Jessie Gentilella. “We are not here to promote that having sex, or not having sex, is a good or bad thing; we’re just here to give students options to make their own informed decisions.”