By: Jaasmin Foote
Hood College awaits its first Safe Sex Carnival on Thursday Dec. 4.
The carnival will be held in Whitaker Commons from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The purpose of the Safe Sex Carnival is to educate the Hood community about HIV, AIDS, STI’S, STD’s, and testing options through fun games, carnival snacks, and FAQS.
Justin Fox, Vice President of the Queer Student Union, also known as QSU, said that overall, he hopes students will learn how to protect themselves from AIDS, HIV, and STD’S: “I hope students will learn how to find out their statuses,” he said. “It’s so easy and there are so many great resources in Frederick like ‘I Want the Kit.’ The company works with the Health Center here at Hood and it allows you to test yourself at home. Then, you can then bring the sample to the Health Center. It’s very secure and private.”
The carnival is also a chance to find out about the plethora of methods used to practice safe sex. Fox said that both sexes should know every possible way to protect themselves during intercourse: “Yes, there are many female condoms in addition to the dental dam,” Fox said. “Students will find that out at the carnival.”
Several student organizations and the Health Center will be in attendance and will have tables with information about the subject matter as well as games and brochures. Co-Sponsoring Organizations include: Health Center, QSU, BSU La Comunidad, PRSSA, SACC/SPURS, Equal Sex, Last Train of Thought, and House Forum
The list of activities for the carnival is as follows:
∙The Health Center–Consent Booth and FAQS
∙ Equal Sex–Female Condom Toss
∙ Last Train of Thought– Condom Pop (popping condoms with a dart)
∙Queer Student Union–Bobbing for Balls with Dental Dams
∙ Black Student Union– Duck Pool and FAQS about STI and HIV
∙Public Relations Student Society of America–Beer Goggle and Condoms
∙House Forum– Pump it Up (blowing condoms up like balloons)
∙La Comunidad–Ring Toss on a Penis
Travis Eichelberger, the area coordinator for Diversity Initiatives and advisor of QSU, BSU, and La Comunidad, is looking forward to the event: “It’s going to be fun. This is all of the student’s hard work. They’re in charge, not me. Teresa Cevallos (director of Health Resources and a member of the Safe Sex Carnival Planning Committee) and I are just here to make sure the educational aspect is included.”
Eichelberger also said he was excited about the event and noted “if everything goes as planned, the decorations are going to be insane.”
Every year, the student organizations take turns leading the activities for World AIDS Day. La Communidad has been the largest contributor the past few years, but this year, QSU is playing the leader.
Eichelberger said QSU wanted to do something “different” this year: “We looked online and saw that other schools do sex carnivals, so the presidents of the student groups looked up standard carnival games and twisted them to apply to HIV, STI’s and STD’s in a fun way.”
Eichelberger noted that QSU chose to do a sex carnival over other approaches because “it gives all of the student organizations an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.” Eichelberger said that a lot of groups are participating, but it’s not too late to help out if you’re interested in doing so.
Eichelberger said that in addition to games, each booth will also have information specific to their community: “For example, the Black Student Union and La Comunidad will have information about how HIV and AIDS affects the African American community and Hispanic communities [and so forth and so on]. Students will get general information as well as information that applies specifically to them and their communities.”
Eichelberger also noted the importance of sexual consent: “I’ve done a lot of work with Rape Culture on campuses, so I think the national microscope dealing with sexual assault is important. No school is perfect, but Hood is working on dealing with this as efficiently as possible, and I like that the pressure is there to make people responsible for their actions.”
Cevallos said that in addition to a “commemoration of HIV,” the carnival is a “bogo” because the booth will discuss safe sex, HIV and STD/ STI prevention, as well as sexual consent.
Cevallos said: “Some students don’t know the consequences that come with sex. The students focused on safe sex for the carnival, but the Health Center is concerned with tying in sexual consent to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.”
Cevallos also noted that the staff at the Health Center decided to do a Consent Booth, an informational booth about sexual consent, instead of an “old time kissing booth” to add a modern twist on carnival traditions. She said she hopes the students will learn about disease prevention, sexual health, and sexual responsibility. She noted that the Health Center will offer raffle tickets to students that correctly repeat the FAQS at the booth.
Students will have tables with information and pamphlets about safe sex as well as red ribbons from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, the tables will be set up from 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, the tables will be set- up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.