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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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How SBU resources promote sexual health and well-being

The advisory board of Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) — Anika, Cristal and Alyssa (from left to right) posing with Plan B at the Sex and Relationships photoshoot. PPGA is a resource for students on campus seeking sexual health information about Planned Parenthood. STANLEY ZHENG/ THE STATESMAN

Posters with sexually-implicit phrases can be found on the walls at every turn in the Student Activities Center, where students either cringe or chuckle at the thought of winning a sex toy at a campus event. While sex-centered events and initiatives are hosted to entertain students — or even cause a stir — they possess the additional benefit of educating young adults on how to have safe sex.

“The CPO [Center for Prevention and Outreach] office does a really good job of keeping their doors open like, ‘come in, take condoms.’ It’s hilarious,” Natalia Wong, a junior women’s and gender studies major at Stony Brook University, said. “I think taking a silly approach or having a sense of humor around it makes it less serious, makes it less awkward.”

The lighthearted advertising helps to reduce stigmas surrounding discussions of safe sex. If students are more willing to approach the topic, conversations surrounding safe sex can become much easier.

Fondue Me is one event promoting safe sex on Stony Brook’s campus. Students flock to play bingo on sex facts, watch performances and enjoy a chocolate fountain. Fondue Me is held annually and is organized by Student Engagement and Activities. This year, it took place on Feb. 10.  

“Fondue Me is about getting rid of any stigma of sexuality on campus,” Madelyne Gaibor-Alban and Isaiah Daniel, the event coordinators for Fondue Me, wrote in an email to The Statesman. “This year we introduced a new drag queen host, Astala Vista from Drag Queen Entertainment, along with performances from our Caribbean Student Organization’s Dance Team, Caribana, Belly Dancers and Music and Medicine!”

Organizations including CPO, Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) and the LGBTQ* Center were present at the Fondue Me event. These organizations operate year-round and are leading the fight in promoting sexual health on campus.

PPGA at Stony Brook is a resource for students seeking sexual health information from Planned Parenthood. The club advocates that Planned Parenthood provides more than just prenatal care.

“Basically you can get any type of health care that you need at Planned Parenthood for very low costs,” Anika Drees, the social media manager for PPGA, said. “If you need to go to the gynecologist, just go for a checkup. They have gender affirming health care there.”

PPGA at Stony Brook offers Plan B and other contraceptives on campus whenever students need it, even on weekends and late at night. Students are also encouraged to contact Planned Parenthood with any questions they might have. 

“A lot of people have been coming to get Plan B, and if they don’t understand how it works, they ask us; we tell them how it works,” Drees said. “I’m pretty hopeful with how knowledgeable the campus is and I’m hopeful that if they aren’t knowledgeable, they’d come to us.”

PPGA also hosts events of their own, recently including a fundraiser for Palestine on March 20 that collected donations for menstrual products. Other clubs contributed to the cause and hosted activities for students to enjoy at the fundraiser. Students were able to participate either by donating $5 or a pack of menstrual products.

Sexual health events and organizations are generally well-received by the student body. Fondue Me alone hosts roughly 200 students each year on average, with roughly 150 students in attendance this year.

Wong’s hope is that the conversation surrounding safe sex expands to other topics including stigmas regarding certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs).

“I feel like if we talked more about them and made sex in general less stigmatized, less scary, it would open up the floor for talking about contraception,” Wong said. “Not just preventing babies, preventing STIs, STDs, AIDS, HIV, and also not making those things specifically ‘gay diseases,’ but diseases that anybody can get.”

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