When preparing to start college, many incoming freshmen may be unaware of some of the social challenges they may face. This includes having to deal with sexual pressure from peers, which can be difficult for some to navigate. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that an estimated 20 to 25 percent of college women report experiencing an attempted or completed rape in college. Aside from the threat of sexual violence, many college students engage in unsafe sexual practices that can result in contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such a chlamydia or gonorrhea. In response to all this, The Exponent, a Purdue College news source, recently published an article urging school officials to include sexual health information during new student orientation. Purdue received a poor ranking on Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card in 2011, which ranked colleges and universities based on the sexual education resources they offered to students.
“Freshmen have the best opportunity to absorb new information. If they look confused or bewildered, it is because they probably are. Freshmen are new to college life and the experiences associated with it. Orientation would be the perfect opportunity for new students to learn smart tips for protecting oneself in seemingly awkward or unsafe situations,” stated Exponent contributor Anita Yadavalli. While the Purdue Women’s Health Center does give a short talk about sexual safety during orientation, Yadavalli claims this is not enough. She suggests implementing a program that gets the older students involved in educating the younger ones about sexual health though “interactive theater.” These theater programs, where students write and perform short plays about STDs, rape and other concerns, are something that is currently being done at many colleges. This can be an interesting way to get the whole student body engaged in a sexual health discussion.