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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Activities & Organizations

‘Tea with Dr. McGuire’ sees rise in attendance, coordinator hopes to expand program’s reach


Laura McGuire is the new program manager for Sexual Violence Prevention and Education and is hoping to expand the program’s reach on campus with monthly meetings aimed at providing students a safe space to discuss controversial topics. | Brittaney Penney/The Cougar

The UH Wellness Center hosted its second meeting in a series of monthly chats on a variety of topics, from sexuality to consent to feminism Monday afternoon.

Billed as Tea with Dr. McGuire, the event, held the first Monday of every month, offered students a chance to chat with Laura McGuire, the program manager for Sexual Violence Prevention and Education at the Wellness Center. McGuire started at UH this past December, as did the program.

“I wanted to make sure students had a chance to just meet me and learn more about the program and (provide) a free space for them to talk,” McGuire said. “Mostly what I do is trainings and workshops, and it’s not a space where we can just chit chat and bring up different topics and discuss them freely, so I wanted to make sure there was a space for that.”

Six students attended the hour long discussion, where conversation never once subsided.

Consent, virginity, homosexuality, the Electoral College, the presidential debate, racism, voting and education were some of the themes, with the participants talking about what they knew, what they believed and what they didn’t know but wanted to learn. They even talked about sexual education, with all saying the education they received in high school was null and void.

“They hand you deodorant and pads and say ‘there you go, that’s all you need for the rest of your life,’” architecture sophomore Rachel Woods said.

McGuire said she was happy to see a difference in attendance at this meeting, considering no one attended the first one.

“The semester had just started and nobody knew I existed,” McGuire said. “I had to get enough people to even know I was here.”

Since the first meeting McGuire said she has expended energy trying to reach out to the UH community and draw students into the program. This includes two hours a week of tabling to interact with students, emails and focus groups, all to get students involved with the various activities she offers.

“I do a lot of trainings on consent, we even do things on sexual pleasure and we also do Sex 101, which is a class that is every other Tuesday at the Health Center about sex education,” McGuire said.

Other events include movie screenings, such as an upcoming screening for the film ‘She’s Beautiful when She’s Angry,’ and a women’s panel “for women’s history month (where the program is) going to have a whole panel discussing what does it even me to be a woman,” she said.

During the event, McGuire asked the attendants to discuss how issues like consent and virginity, among others, should be addressed on campus.

“I want to make sure the program is serving what the students want, and maybe not just what higher-ups or powerful people are thinking,” McGuire said.

The long-term goal for the three-month-old program?

“Hopefully making the trainings much bigger, getting more organizations involved, having certain parts be mandatory maybe someday. Are all potential concepts,” McGuire said.

“If (students) get involved, if they help form the program, especially because it’s so new, then the better it will be and the more they will like it.”

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