Valentine’s Day comes as a celebration of love, but the importance of a healthy relationship should also be emphasized. One way students can help out with their relationships or be secure in their confidentiality is through OASIS here on campus.
OASIS stands for Outreach & Advocacy Sexuality Information For Students. Their mission is committed to empowering students with information, education, training, advocacy, and counseling support related to sexual and relationship health and sexual, relationship and gender violence prevention.
“We have the name [OASIS] specifically to take a sex positive approach in talking about sexuality and relationships,” said OASIS Coordinator Kate Emmerich. “In our culture, we tend to focus on more of the violent aspects of those things and the negative aspects, and we have become conditioned to only really feel comfortable talking about it when it involves violence.”
OASIS provides a number of different programs and services, including workshops, outreach events and confidential counseling to ETSU students that want to be informed and educated on the topic. According to Emmerich, a significant amount of students are not provided the adequate training and counseling from an early age that it takes to maintain a healthy relationship over time.
“When talking about healthy sexuality and healthy relationships, a lot of us do not have a blueprint for what that looks like, and most states do not teach comprehensive sex education, so we’re basically left to explore it on our own,” Emmerich said. “This leads to a lot of unhealthy and dangerous practices, such as not knowing how to establish consent.”
This week OASIS is promoting Love Your Body Week, in which a student can participate by following OASIS’s Instagram account (OASIS_ETSU) and taking on a challenge provided each day of the week by OASIS’s account. One of their followers will be given a prize each day of the week, culminating with a cordless Bluetooth speaker being given out on Friday.
“We are really trying to increase our Instagram followers and our online social media engagement, as we use our account to post a lot of information and continue to use the Ask the Sexpert on this platform,” Emmerich said.
For more information on OASIS, you can visit the Counseling Center on the third floor of Neil Dossett Hall. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Counseling Center’s office number: 423-439-3333.