The University of Colorado’s residence halls this fall are housing upwards of 5,000 freshmen — most of whom are living on their own for the first time.
While the experience of leaving home is exciting for most, the independence also can be scary. That’s why CU dorms have residence hall advisers — or RAs — on every floor to help freshmen adjust to the college experience and life on campus.
For more information about CU’s Community Health program, visit healthcenter.colorado.edu.
This fall, one of the ways those RAs can help their freshmen is with a newly revamped sex ed workshop, a program that’s voluntary for students — although many freshmen surveyed about it said they don’t think it’s necessary.
CU’s Community Health, a division of Wardenburg Health Center, has revamped its previous sex ed program to include more than just basic information about STDs and safe sex practices.
Anne Schuster, health communications coordinator for Community Health, said CU reverted the workshop back to an older version of the program with a few twists.
“In the past we offered a similar sex ed program to students who came to us and asked for it themselves,” Schuster said. “Now we offer a comprehensive workshop in the residence halls — and the RAs are the ones requesting it.”
Community Health condensed last year’s three programs into one to include not just sexual health basics but also general student wellness, rape and gender education. Communicating with a partner, condom demonstrations and STD information are all part of the new integrated program.
“They used to be three separate programs, but we felt they were better understood as an integrated workshop that touched on all three,” Schuster said. “That way students can more easily see the context and understand the overall message of physical as well as emotional health that we are trying to convey.”
There have been no sessions booked in the dorms so far this fall, but John Henderson, assistant director of resident life, said the RAs don’t often start looking into these programs until later in the semester.
The university would not allow RAs to comment on the new program, because “it’s just not good to have them talking about things like this with the media,” said Paula Bland, director of residence life on campus.
According to the residence halls and Community Health officials, the program was “very successful” last year and was of “high interest” to students in the dorms.
“It’s a very popular program in residence halls,” Henderson said. “Not only do the RAs appreciate the program, but the students do, too.”
But some freshman said they don’t need to attend a sex ed course after being bombarded with similar sessions throughout middle school and high school.
CU freshman Matt Newell lives in Hallett Hall and said he would not attend a sex education program in his dorm.
“I’ve gotten enough information about sex over the years,” Newell said. “Between high school sessions and my parents and friends, I don’t really see what they would teach me that I haven’t already heard.”
CU freshman Dylan Porter lives in Stearns West and said he would also choose not to attend the session.
“I don’t really see the point,” Porter said. “I mean most of us are already sexually active or close enough by the time we get to college. It kind of seems too late to me.”