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Wellness Center holds Sexuality Savvy discussion group

Student feedback sought for new programming

The Sexuality Savvy workshop will take place on Monday at 7 p.m.

A student-driven discussion on sexuality does include some expected components, such as safety and responsibility. But it’s a mistake to assume that the conversation is focused only on sexual activity, says Beth Grampetro, the health and wellness educator in the Office of Residence Life.

“That’s really a misconception,” says Grampetro. “Your sexuality is something that you have from birth. My favorite way to start this kind of conversation is to ask people what they think sexuality means and what their values around it are.”

Values, decisions, safety, and health and well-being are all up for discussion at Sexuality Savvy, a workshop scheduled for Monday, November 7, at 7 p.m. at 19 Deerfield St., cosponsored by the Wellness and Residential Education Center and the Coalition for Consensual Sex. Grampetro worked with students to come up with topics for the event, and she determined that while information about sexually transmitted infections is important, an exploration of personal ideas, beliefs, and comfort levels can be just as valuable.

“If students are going out and doing social activities around campus, or around the greater Boston area, what are the things you need to be thinking about as you’re doing that?” Grampetro asks. “What are the concerns you have for yourself? Your personal values are yours, and it’s really important to be aware of them as you enter into any sort of relationship.”

Awareness and safety are major themes of the Wellness and Residential Education Center’s programming, which is designed to help students understand why certain behaviors put them at risk, instead of simply cautioning them against the activities. In October, for example, as a part of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, the center focused on the problems with drinking games. “It’s giving them some information that’s a little more than your traditional ‘Drinking is bad, and here’s why,’” Grampetro says.

Other programs on the agenda for this semester include the Great American Smoke-Out, which takes place on November 17, and some stress-reduction events that are scheduled toward the end of the semester. Grampetro, who arrived at BU this semester to head the Wellness and Residential Education Center, says she is looking forward to getting more feedback from students about the kind of wellness programming they need.

“We’re really looking to do some more hard-core assessment of what’s going on here, to really inform what we’re doing,” she says. “It’s kind of an exciting thing and a challenging thing.”

Read Grampetro’s column on sexuality savvy in today’s Health Matters.