Sometimes discussing topics like sex can be uncomfortable. Groups on campus, such as the Center for Health Education and Promotion, find a fun way to break this taboo. Both an evening of fashion and open dialogue fulfilled this goal through Project Condom on November 19 2015. Held in the Student Memorial Center, the evening’s activities included an opportunity to openly discuss the values of practicing safe sex along with a competition for the creative use of condoms in unique ways, hosted by the Center for Health Education and Promotion.
Four groups of students competed in the event, including Artists Rocking Together, Fashion at Heart, Lambda Chi Alpha and Society of Latino Affairs. Two students from CHEP, a student selected from the audience and Dr. Debra Vredenburg-Rudy, completed the judging. Vredenburg-Rudy joined the event returning with experience as a professional Project Condom judge.
“I never would have thought of different things they used, like the wrapper or the condom in its entirety,” noted student judge Alicia Youtz, a representative of CHEP. Part of the criteria used for judging the creations included “creativity, how they decided to make it and how they used the condoms differently,” Youtz added.
Each of the four teams were given 300 condoms and the chance to use them in a unique fashion in the name of fashion. Outfit styles included a hula outfit from SOLA, a warrior-style outfit from Lambda Chi Alpha, a beach ball and bikini-style outfit from Artists Rocking together and a crop top/evening dress from Fashion at heart. Accessories included purses and earrings made with condoms as accents and condoms were handed out to audience members by several of the models.
“The biggest challenge is being creative,” said Allante Floyd, president of Artists Rocking Together said. “You have to really think outside of the box. You don’t want to google a picture and see something. You want to stand out. You want to be different, so that was the biggest challenge we faced.”
Overall, the creation of their team’s bikini outfit and beach ball took three hours for completion. Students were able to comfortably speak about practicing safe sex, and were provided with various styles of condoms and lube for their own safety. Refreshments were provided for students to enjoy while they participated in trivia, games and the chance to win prizes while raising awareness of healthy relationships and sexual activity. Students were able to participate in listing the proper order of condom placement and removal, and were able to go through the process on a model while wearing drunk goggles.
“The public puts a bad name on having sex before marriage and parents also teach their kids it’s a bad thing, so they think they are an awful person for doing it,” Rachel Hall of CHEP said. Because of the stigma associated with sex “they don’t reach out and get the protective methods available on campus.”
The winner for this year’s competition was Fashion at Heart, reigning as winners for the second year in a row with an outfit resembling an evening gown joined with a clutch purse.
“I think it definitely informs [students],” Floyd added on the importance of the event. “It makes it easier to talk about because sex is not a weird topic, but it’s something that we think about but not talk about. I think this is a fun way to bring people out and distribute safe sex.”
The Center for Health Education and Promotion is located at the Montour House across from the Student Memorial Center, and will be hosting a number of events this semester for students to participate in.