The ETSU Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance is planning on holding ETSU Sex Week during the first week of February, after deciding to not hold the event last year.
“The reason for that was because we had winter elections, because a lot of our officers were graduating in the winter and so we only had one officer that was staying over and we couldn’t throw it all together in a month,” said senior Emily Miles, the president of FMLA. “We’re halfway through planning right now, and we still have three months left. We have been thinking about doing it bi-annually, because it is a pretty massive undertaking. It takes us about a year to plan it.”
FMLA, a gender equality group on campus that promotes equal treatment for everyone, is the lead organizer in Sex Week, but they want Sex Week to be a campus event. The organization is reaching out to different organizations on and off campus such as Greek Life, the Department of Health and Planned Parenthood.
“We’re trying to branch out and really make this a community event,” Miles said. “We think getting as many people as possible working on this will help a lot, and we can present a much more diverse point of view.”
Sex Week organizers coordinated ETSU’s first Sex Week in February 2015 after being denied BUC funding by the ETSU Student Government association in October 2014.
SGA members were concerned that representatives from the state legislature would make changes to the BUC fund, an important source of funding for student organizations, if they voted to approve funding to the proposed event.
Thanks to help from private donations and fundraising, however, the organizers were able to hold the event in February, albeit with less funds than they originally hoped.
This year, many organizations have already offered to help with Sex Week, including H.E.R.O.E.S., the campus advocacy group that promotes equality for LGBTQ+ students, and Reformed University Fellowship, a Christian organization.
“We’re also looking to get local religious leaders from a variety of different faiths to come and talk about sexuality and religion just to give as many point of views as possible and make it as inclusive as possible,” Miles said. “We’re also trying to make it as trans-inclusive and LGBT-inclusive as possible, which is why it is so great we are partnering up with H.E.R.O.E.S.. H.E.R.O.E.S. has really stepped up to help us with this.”
Miles believes that it’s important for students to take control of their own reproductive health in the safest way possible. She wants to get students interested in Sex Week so that they can take care of themselves.
“I’m always way more interested I feel like in the medical information,” Miles said. “Like, this is how to have the most fun while not getting an STD and not getting pregnant. From my perspective, like if you get pregnant, where are the closest sights to get an abortion or Plan B or something like that?”
Grace Hugueley, the secretary of FMLA, is excited about the educational aspects of Sex Week.
“We have a table every Tuesday where we hand out information and free condoms,” she said. “A couple weeks ago, this guy came up, and I taught him so much. He didn’t know about internal condoms. He didn’t know about oral condoms. He thought it was cool, and so I told him what they were and how they worked.”
Hugueley said that the student then taught three of his friends that were standing nearby about the various types of condoms.
“That just made me so proud of him that he taught his friends stuff,” she said. “That’s what I like seeing.”