This isn’t your “Mean Girls,” abstinence-only health class from high school. The Multicultural Center presented “Sex Education” last week. The two-hour event featured two presentations by Deirdre Gudger and Glenda Swartz. The event covered a range of topics from HIV prevention to different forms of protection.
“That’s pretty much our main concern, making sure people protect themselves,” Gudger said.
Gudger works with the Quillen College of Medicine and covered HIV prevention. Swartz is an ETSU student leader and director for ETSU’s first Pride Festival. Swartz said one key difference between this discussion and one that students might have heard before is the effort to focus the discussion on topics both understandable and relatable to college-age adults.
“I will admit that at times I made jokes that I wanted to make relatable to the audience,” Swartz said. “People kind of warmed up. It’s a very difficult topic.”
Swartz was asked to present as the OASIS team with the Counseling Center is working on several other upcoming events. They gave her information and materials as well as advice to make it more conversation-like than just educational.
I really enjoyed being asked to do it, and I was so honored to do it,” she said. “But also being able to put my own spin and be like, ‘Here’s what I have to say.’”
Both Gudger and Swartz said events like this should happen at least once a month, in their opinion.
“You can teach [them] abstinence all day long—they’re doing it regardless,” Gudger said. “If you’re not giving the education, they’re coming up with their own little creations on how to take care of themselves.”
The two presenters posed several multiple choice questions to see just how much the students already knew before the meeting. They had an open dialogue with those in attendance, asking questions and opening the floor for discussion after each presentation.
“It was really great, and to hear people’s reactions of, ‘This is what really needed to be said,’ I really enjoyed that,” Swartz said. “I feel like I wasn’t just talking to an empty space, it was actually hitting something. It was making a difference.”