Starting next semester, some students won’t have to run to the nearest convenience store to pick up condoms on weekends – they can just get them from their community hosts.
A program will make condoms and candy available in bowls at CHs’ desks in the Hall on Virginia Avenue, Thurston Hall and Ivory Tower on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Members of the Student Association, the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students and GW’s Student Global AIDS Campaign initiated the program to promote safe sex. If students show enough interest in the program, it may be extended to all residence halls.
Junior Lamar Thorpe, a member of the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students who is helping organize the program, said that when he ran unsuccessfully for SA president last year, placing condoms in residence halls was one of his main campaign platforms. The program is still in the planning stages, Thorpe said, and he does not know how many condoms will be provided in each residence hall or how much the program will cost. The coalition will be purchasing condoms from GW’s Student Health Services at a reduced rate.
Thorpe said that before the Community Living and Learning Center was established in 1997, condoms were available in dorms.
“When CLLC took over … the condoms just went away for some reason,” Thorpe said. “And that’s where we are today.”
“We feel as though there is a lack of awareness on campus regarding what constitutes safe and responsible sexual activity, and we seek to increase this education through many avenues,” said SA Sen. Daniel Balke (CCAS-U), a junior.
The group also wants to promote safe sex on campus by including an educational component to the mandatory advising workshops that all freshmen in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences take. The Student Global AIDS Campaign is also trying to increase the number of free sexually transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS testing days on campus this year.
Residence Hall Association President Amrita Bagaria, a senior, said she agrees with the coalition that safe sex education is not accurately provided by the University through introductory programs such as Colonial Inauguration or GW’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Education. But she said the pilot program may not be very effective, either.
“As student leaders, our job should be to educate students, not simply hand out condoms to residents and let them go on their way,” she said. “The problem is that students are either not aware of the problems associated with unsafe sexual practices, or they choose to not recognize these hazards.”