We are the Trojans?
Ifound an interesting article recently in which Trojan Condoms conducted a sexual health report for many colleges in the US, something they have in fact been doing so since 2006. Each year, Trojan Condoms releases a sexual health report card ranking 100+ schools on the following criteria: quality of sexual health information and resources on website; contraceptive availability; condom availability; HIV testing on-site; STI testing on-site; lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education; sexual assault programs, resources or services, overall website usability and quality; hours of operation; allow drop-ins or require appointments for student scheduling; and extra credit. They then release their rankings, drawing attention to the top ten and bottom ten schools.
The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is now in its tenth year and continues to motivate schools across the country to improve the state of their sexual health resources and services for students. They additionally provide a tool kit that can be downloaded, the Trojan Sexual Health E-Tool Kit, to help health administrators and students alike improve the resources on their campus. Now aware of this ranking system, I think it would be interesting to see if staff at Engemann student health center consider this ranking, and if they have ever taken steps to improve it. I am, however, not terribly confident that this would be the case considering that USC currently ranks 73 out of 140, and has continued to drop in rank from 2013 onwards. We clearly are not doing Trojans justice. Of course the validity of the Trojan Condom ranking is uncertain but I would be curious to know if USC ever considers it, and if so, of what importance. Among the top ranked schools are Oregon State, Stanford, and University of Georgia respectively, and so I wonder what exactly these schools are doing differently? Or even the 72 schools above us?
In order to gain a preliminary understanding of what great sexual health resources might look like, I visited the Oregon State website for student sexual health resources. At first glance their website does indeed appear more informative and comprehensive than USC’s. In addition to this, Oregon State offers some interesting services. Take the condom express, for example, which delivers condoms (male, female, and dental dams) to students who live in residence halls for free. Another interesting condom delivery service is a black golf cart painted with flames, known as the condom hot rod, which appears to drive around campus on Wednesdays to distribute condoms to students.
Learning this makes me realize that I cannot move forward considering USC’s resources in a vacuum; if I am to identify gaps in the sexual health services provided I should also consider how other schools are filling these. With this new article in mind I have now have many more questions moving forward with my research. Among these is how exactly has Trojan Condoms chosen to evaluate each of these schools, and is their method one I could also employ? I am also curious to know if USC is aware of their low (and declining) score, and if they have made any efforts to improve on this. Finally I would like to identify some of the alternative methods that have been adopted at other schools, such as Oregon’s Condom Hot Rod, and ask students if they too would like similar services. I think that gaining a better understanding of how other colleges are tackling student sexual health problems will allow me to better question those offered at Engemann and better assess USC’s strengths and weaknesses.