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