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Safe sex guide, preventing risk resources on campus

Practicing safe sex is important when going off to college for the first time. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Practicing safe sex is important when going off to college for the first time. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, reproductive health care becomes affected across the nation. Here is a guide to having safe sex as a college student.

Although condoms and other forms of protection are available, practicing safe sex doesn’t stop there. Getting tested for STIs and harmful infections can prevent spreading among individuals.

Interim director of the Women and Gender Resource Center Laura Zavala-Membreno shares how this Supreme Court decision impacts people and how students can seek support on campus.

“The passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973 helped establish reproductive rights for millions of people in the U.S.,” Membreno said. “Beyond decriminalizing abortion, this landmark case also solidified an individual’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to make decisions regarding one’s childbearing, child-rearing, marriage and intimacy.”

Access to abortions is now made difficult, so taking advantage of resources on campus to ensure your all-around health and safety are taken care of is important.

Planned Parenthood is located near campus and provides personalized contraceptive services for individuals, including birth control pills, patches, condoms, IUD and more.

Resources on campus 

An organization on campus called S.M.A.R.T. Cougars works to prevent and provide services for substance abuse, HIV/AIDS risk management, testing and mental health.

 S.M.A.R.T. Cougars also extend their services to people in the surrounding community targeting minority young adults and educating individuals on the skills needed to live a healthier life. 

Another resource on campus is the Women and Gender Resource Center located in Student Center North. The center’s mission is to educate and promote gender equity and the community’s success. 

Inside the WGRC, free supplies, including condoms, lube and personal hygiene products, are available as well as private consultations on various topics. 

“Support has always been and will always be available,” Membreno said. “The WGRC remains committed to serving and supporting students in whatever ways we can, including connecting students to campus and community resources, such as counseling.”

 Sexual misconduct support

The University and the WGRC offer campus-based assistance to those experiencing sexual misconduct such as sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and harassment. Services include emotional support, housing accommodations, reporting options and more.

Membreno shared that students can speak to someone in the WGRC with full confidentiality, meaning that nothing will be shared without a person’s permission

It Counts 

It Counts is a campaign launched by the WGRC to bring awareness to support services the campus offers and to address individual experiences with sexual violence. 

Learning about safe sex and knowing the resources available on campus is a way to prevent health risks and keep the community safe. According to WGRC, the campaign was designed to be a platform for students where they created 20 different scenarios into a poster with each statement ending with “It counts.”

“Take care of yourself and connect with people with whom you feel safe and supported,” Membreno said. “If you need a safe space to process, please reach out to the resources available on campus.”

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