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Sex at the Sunset Tonight

BU Student Health Ambassadors’ entertaining trivia night promotes sexual health

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Who was the first couple to be shown in bed together on prime-time television?

What ancient civilization used olive oil for a little more than cooking?

These cheeky queries are but two of the many sex-inspired questions you might be asked this evening at Sex at the Sunset: Nacho Average Trivia Night, being held at Sunset Cantina. At the trivia night, sponsored by BU’s Student Health Ambassadors (SHAs)—the peer health and wellness educators trained by the Student Health Services Office of Wellness and Prevention—there will be giveaways and free nachos besides the trivia questions designed to promote sexual health.

Even if talking openly about sex makes you blush, Gabriella Lopes (SAR’14) and her team of SHAs say, they’ve designed tonight’s trivia event to be entertaining. “The trivia game will be in an open, fun, and interesting environment where students can feel comfortable talking about sexual health,” promises Lopes. “It’s not such an easy subject to talk about normally, but we feel this will be a fun way to learn about it. It’s trivia—not lectures and pamphlets. Students who come to the event will be learning about sexual health, but having fun at the same time.”

Previous programs aimed at educating students about sexual health have been popular, she says, pointing to last semester’s Sex in the Dark panel of sex experts answering students’ questions and last year’s sex-themed trivia event, both of which had full houses and generated positive feedback from students.

Statistics reinforce the importance of such learning opportunities for students. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that young people aged 15 to 24 comprise 27 percent of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the United States each year.

“The SHS wellness office has really focused a lot more on sexual health in the last two years,” says wellness coordinator Katharine Mooney (SPH’12). “The Student Health Ambassadors have been instrumental in helping us roll out all of the programming we’ve been doing.”

BU Today spoke with Mooney about tonight’s trivia event, about what students know—and don’t know—about sexual health, and about the Student Health Ambassadors program.

BU Today: What can students expect at the Sex at the Sunset event?

Mooney: They can definitely expect it to be a fun time, just like a lot of the other programming we do. It’s certainly educational, but it’s also meant to be fun and interactive. Students will be divided into teams like you do often in Stump Trivia or other trivia nights. We will have sex swag available to students, and people will compete against one another. We’ll have music too, and Student Health Ambassadors will lead the trivia night.

Sex swag?

We’ll be giving out items like condoms, other safer sex supplies, sex toys, and fun things like penis-shaped candy and those kinds of things.

Why is programming like this so important?

I think students come to college with a huge variation in sexual health knowledge. Some students come from school systems where they’ve had really comprehensive sex education or they’ve had parents who were really involved, so they’re really knowledgeable. But that’s not the case for every student. We understand that and want to provide more opportunities to learn about sexual health. Plus there are things like new recommendations or new products. So, there are opportunities to learn, even if you had great sex education in high school. It’s just a great way to put out accurate information and to test students on their knowledge of sexual health. They may know some information going in, and hopefully they’ll learn some new stuff too.

I think the reality is that there is still a lot of misinformation out there. Yes, there is a lot out there, but it’s not always accurate, and so we want to make sure we’re putting out accurate information.

Can you talk about the Student Health Ambassador program and what the volunteers do?

SHAs are a group of health-minded undergraduates. They apply to become ambassadors; it’s a competitive selection process, and there’s an interview. The current group chooses the incoming ambassadors—which is great—so there’s a lot of ownership of the group. They serve both as peer educators and as liaisons between Student Health Services and the student body. They have a hand in the programming we do, they’re a sounding board when we’re coming up with ideas, they help execute the programs, they prepare our materials for Condom Fairy, our free condom delivery program, and they’re planning tonight’s trivia event, so they absolutely help us do what we do in the wellness office. As peers, they have a good sense of what students know and where their gaps in knowledge are, so they can create questions that get at that.

You are currently in the process of recruiting new Student Health Ambassadors. What qualities do you look for?

Certainly we want students who are health-minded and have an interest in student health, who want to help other people make smarter and safer decisions. But you don’t have to be the picture of health to be a Student Health Ambassador, so keep that in mind too. We tend to attract health science students, which is great, but I think that the group has realized that it would be really great to have other points of view. Students who aren’t immersed in that field all the time and students who have skills in other areas that the group could benefit from, like marketing skills, creative skills, so they can grow the group and become more visible on campus.

Interested in learning about the Student Health Ambassadors? Find out more here.

Sex at the Sunset: Nacho Average Trivia Night is tonight, Tuesday, March 25, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Sunset Cantina, 916 Commonwealth Ave. Trivia will start promptly at 7:30. Space is limited, so arrive early for a seat. The event is open to all BU students, regardless of age.

Sascha Garrey can be reached at sgarrey@bu.edu.

12 Comments

12 Comments on Sex at the Sunset Tonight

  • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 03.25.2014 at 7:49 am

    Yay penis-shaped candy!

  • dollars and sense on 03.25.2014 at 8:15 am

    Are you kidding me? Our money going to penis shaped candy? This is what we’ve come to…
    And one week ago people were complaining about the tuition increase. Insane.

    • sense and dollars on 03.25.2014 at 10:10 am

      If you read the article, you’d understand that “young people aged 15 to 24 comprise 27 percent of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the United States each year.” Although it is a fun event with fun swag, it’s aim is education. What better way to learn and remember than in a fun way?

      • Geez on 03.25.2014 at 10:44 am

        Ironically, those 20 million new STI’s have only increased under such “education”.

        Fun without genuine responsibility is not education it is absurd.

        • Sexual Educator on 03.25.2014 at 1:08 pm

          Perhaps STIs were on the rise because the Bush administration’s abstinence-only education funding (which only recently ran out) required sexuality education to teach that “sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects,” but not how to protect oneself from STIs. Hmmm.

          Why are you assuming this event won’t be responsible? These people work in Student Health and consult with experts. They likely designed the event this way because they know that students need to feel comfortable asking such sensitive questions. A fun environment gives them the opportunity to laugh and shake their nervousness about it and get some truly helpful information. Maybe attend the event before you renounce its legitimacy.

          • Geez on 03.25.2014 at 2:53 pm

            It is Bush’s fault. Got it.

        • WStern (ASU Student) on 03.25.2014 at 1:48 pm

          There’s more to “Education” than telling students not to have sex. People really like having sex. Unfortunately the abstinence-only education promoted under the Bush administration (As Sexual Educator discussed) has proven to be just as effective as providing no sexual education at all.
          “Saying no” to sex is not the most effective way to engage in safe sex. In order to engage in safe sex, you need a proper knowledge of birth control methods and become educated on sexuality and promotion of healthy communication between sexual partners. This little event does a better job and promoting these things than public education.
          The discussion shouldn’t revolve around this event being inappropriate, but the ineffectiveness of public education that requires events like this to manage the damage abstinence only education has already done.

    • WStern (ASU Student) on 03.25.2014 at 12:19 pm

      Unfortunately, up until now, many of these students likely received inadequate sexual education. This programs sounds more comprehensive than any abstinence-only program offered in public schools, and has more information and resources to offer students in the name of education than parents have.
      Yeah, penis-shaped candy is a little goofy. But college kids are going to have better things to do with their time than go to a sex ed fair unless they do silly things like that to show that it’s actually going to be fun. In fact, I wish my campus would do something like this- it sounds like a ton of fun, and I believe it’s necessity outweighs its silliness.

  • Geez on 03.25.2014 at 10:09 am

    Call something “healthcare” and it instantly becomes legitimate… no matter how stupid.

    • MIMI on 03.25.2014 at 2:30 pm

      I agree.

  • To Think about on 03.25.2014 at 11:01 am

    Instead of giving away obscene elements (like penis candy shaped and other things) which somehow promotes more sexual relations among students. How about if the so called “Student Health group” create events or forum groups on how to STOP promiscuity…!

    • Sexual Educator on 03.25.2014 at 12:55 pm

      “Promiscuity” is actually not nearly the issue on college campuses that you might expect. Studies show that the average college student has had 1-2 partners in the past year…an average that has not changed since the 1960s. The fact is, students are exploring their sexuality (with or without penis candy) and this event will provide them information on how to do that safely. I’m very sorry you appear to be against spreading sexual health information in a fun way. Boston University supports open discussion about sexuality, and an open, welcoming atmosphere greatly improves student health.

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