Distribution Day: What Sexual Health On A Jesuit Campus Looks Like

Filled with information on consent, Planned Parenthood, and how to get free condoms, the Students for Sexual Health table allows students at a Jesuit university to have the necessary resources to stay safe.

It’s 10:00 am on an unusually hot fall day. There’s a health fair taking place on the campus of Boston College. Tables cover the grass of O’Neill Plaza as students walking to class stop by to learn more about how to manage stress and eat well. This is the Office of Health Promotion’s signature fair, Healthapalooza, and it is designed to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle while under the stress of college life. However, there is on area of health that this fair — and Boston College as a whole — does not mention; sexual health. As a Jesuit university, Boston College does not provide contraceptives and other sexual resources because sex technically is not allowed on campus. Of course, sex does happen on college campuses, including Boston College’s, but because of BC’s religious affiliation there is no table for sexual health at the fair. Instead, there is a table a little ways off, just on the edge of campus that is dedicated solely to the sexual health of all BC students. Students for Sexual Health (SSH) is an organization run by BC students who are determined to meet the needs of BC’s sexually active students. SSH is not officially recognized by Boston College, but that does not mean they are completely invisible on campus. Every other week, members of SSH set up a table filled with contraceptives, stickers, and information on the publicly owned sidewalk of College Road to try to gain as much attention as possible. Music and shouts promising free condoms get some students’ attention, but being on the outskirts of campus near underclassmen dorms makes it difficult to reach the whole student body. Distribution day has been able to keep some students safe, but until SSH can get recognition from BC, making students aware of this table on College Road is vital.

Boston College is almost an exclusively enclosed campus, with one exception, the publicly owned sidewalk of College Road separates main campus from upper campus.
For SSH, there is a fine line they must watch in order to continue spreading their message of sexual health while not upsetting the school they call home.
SSH e-board member, Nicolas Buonanduci, wants BC students to know the importance of the Jesuit ideal of loving the whole person, sexuality and all.
On a campus where sex is technically illegal, SSH encourages students to be proactive and protected, two lessons this predominately Catholic student body may have never been officially taught.
Normalizing sex and protection at BC is not an easy task, but SSH president, Gabriella Zabbo, is breaking the silence and isn’t shy about it.
Embracing the taboo subject of sex, SSH e-board members Nic and Gabby have some fun while wishing passing students a happy hump day and asking if they would like a free condom.
Class change brings about numerous freshmen and sophomores to College Road, but as expected on a Jesuit campus, very few are bold enough to take advantage of SSH’s offerings.
While protection from STIs and pregnancy are a major concern, SSH also wants BC students to know about consent and how important it is in a sexual relationship.
On a campus that leaves students to navigate sex and sexuality on their own, SSH wants students to know that they will always be there for them with a condom just in case.
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