Students teach safe sex in CA

By Matthew Stone

As the wind howled here in St. Paul this past weekend, four students were basking in the sun and warm weather of Anaheim, Calif.
The students, Katie Clifford ’09, Jake Norton ’07, Arsalan Azam ’07 and Kate Lechner ’07, all employees of Winton Health Services, delivered a presentation on campus safer sex activities at the Bacchus Network 2006 General Assembly, a national conference for peer health educators.

The presentation was based on the “Safer Sex Olympics” the group planned and implemented on campus last fall. The Olympics included a week’s worth of activities designed to promote the practice of safe sex on campus.

Activities in their workshop last weekend included a condom tug-of-war, a game called “Pin the Dental Dam on the Vulva,” and a condom relay, in which participants passed along condoms placed on cucumbers.

For Azam, a stipend and visit to Disneyland made the trip well worth the time.

“It’s up there, getting paid to tell people to have good sex,” Azam said.

Clifford and Azam said that their group was among the only conference presentations given by students. Health professionals who worked in industry or at colleges delivered the balance of presentations and workshops.

The “Safer Sex Olympics” presentation attracted a high turnout for the conference; over 120 attended.

“We were one of the only student ones so it was exciting to have that kind of turnout,” Clifford said.

Reactions to the presentation were generally positive, participants said. Some participants were concerned that the same activities would not work on their more conservative campuses.

“Some of them were wondering about how they could get this onto a more conservative campus,” Clifford said. “A lot said they were going to try to.”

The group applied to present at the conference and was accepted because the Safer Sex Olympics series of activities on campus “was innovative and fun and it still had a purpose,” Clifford said.

Safer Sex Olympics will happen again this spring.