Valentine’s Day at Cogswell was sweeter this year.
On February 13th, Student Life partnered with Good Vibrations Education Group to host the Sweet as Candy workshop, which aimed to promote sexual health and awareness. Good Vibrations provided answers to tough questions on topics that many find ‘taboo’. Cogswell students were given the opportunity to build community dialogue and learn up-to-date and accurate information about safe sex.
“It was a bit refreshing to have an event like the Sex Positivity presentation,” DAA student Adrianna Provencio says, “it's not something that we generally have at our college. I appreciate talks that promote acceptance and love of others, and it'd be nice to have more events like this on campus.”
A Sexual Health Educator spoke about sex positivity and safer sex, followed by an icebreaker and an educational conversation and display of their sex items. Students learned about sex positivity and different types of consent, and why it is important to strive for enthusiastic consent from your partner. “People should be more informed when it comes to sex and [nobody] should be ashamed about what they aren’t or are into,” says GDE student Ciara Cipponeri.
Student Services Coordinator Gisi Thompson collaborated with Academic Advisor Crystal Murguia to help bring the program to Cogswell in effort to meet the programming and learning outcomes of Student Life. Though this is new to Cogswell, Thompson explains that programs like this are ‘quite traditional’ at colleges and universities across the nation. Sweet as Candy falls under one of the co-curricular activities facilitated by Student Life titled Creating a Conscientious Campus, which is part of their Health and Wellness curriculum. Last semester’s Alcohol Awareness campaign is an example of a program encompassed by this initiative.
Student Life’s goal is for several co-curricular learning outcomes: to educate students on being engaging and respectful with community members, to recognize and celebrate individual differences through participation in diversity programs, and to refine their understanding of community expectations following any breach of community standards.
According to Murguia, Good Vibrations works with diverse communities including women, therapists, mothers, medical and health professionals, sex educators, communities of color, differently abled communities, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Days before the workshop, many students were curious to see advertisements for this fresh-faced event, and were certainly pleased with what was presented. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” says Danielle Dennard (DAA), “I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation, atmosphere, and enthusiasm of the speaker . . . I hope Cogswell has more opportunities to bring workshops like these to campus.”
Many students in attendance walked away from the program feeling “very satisfied”, according to the student surveys. Attendees rated the event highly, with some stating that the presentation was “enthusiastic and energetic” and “knowledgeable and prepared”. “Students are still approaching me in the halls or in my office to provide face to face feedback about how much they enjoyed the program,” Thompson says.
Though some may have thought of this event as controversial, Student Life’s approach to match modern programs that are already integrated in other colleges has made students feel empowered.