Free food, live music, condoms and vibrators helped kick off the summer at SF State.
About 100 students, faculty, and guests gathered at Malcolm X Plaza Monday afternoon to observe the "Summer Kick-Off," an annual event aimed towards educating students on safe sex and substance abuse.
The 4-hour event was sponsored by the university's Prevention Education Program, boasting free information tables and a variety of activities from the Educational & Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education (CEASE) the Sexual Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) Place, and the AIDS Coordinating Committee (ACC).
"It's all about distributing information on how to have a good, fun—but safe—summer," said Bita Shooshani, coordinator for the Prevention Education Program.
For the past three years, the student-run organizations have banded together, in what Shooshani calls "connected efforts," to construct pre-summer awareness about sex, alcohol, drugs, and other pertinent, student-related activities.
“It’s tough being a college student, especially without knowing what kinds of resources are available,” said Shooshani. “It’s important that we bring that awareness."
The event started out slow, with many unaware of the purpose behind the event. But as soon as the hot dogs hit the grill, inquiring bodies came forward.
Students and guests alike lined up for a series of activities in hopes to receive free hot dogs, grilled chicken, potato salad, and coleslaw, donated by Nob Hill's Le Beau deli.
"There's so much food! Come get some!" said EROS intern and event organizer Alexis Levine, 22, who helped serve the food.
Some of the activities included a "touchy feely" game, where people were able to feel the difference between various types of condoms, and a small obstacle course, where participants were asked to wear “beer goggles" to simulate impaired vision during a highly intoxicated state.
"It's so blurry. It really feels like I'm seeing double," said junior art major Chris Oropeza, 23.
Amidst the crowd, local middle school students engaged in the activities and watched in awe, drinking capri-suns, eating hot dogs, and speaking with organization leaders like EROS director and senior Human Sexualities major Erica Model, 22.
"Don't carry a condom in your pocket or it might get a hole in it," said Model to a group of eighth graders. "And make sure you don't use your teeth to open it!"
"It must be pretty cool to be in college," said 14-year-old Cesar Alvarez in response to his experience.
While the eight-graders gathered under the shade, musician Magdalen Hsu-Li, delivered live music as an ambient backdrop, combining piano and drums to perform daring songs, including one entitled “Fuck Bush.”
Towards the end of the event, raffle winners received Playstation video games, restaurant gift certificates, vibrators, or other fun "sex stuff."
In addition to the raffle and other activities, tables were set up displaying information regarding safe sex, substance abuse, drug prevention, rape crisis, and other resources that are available to students.
"Any type of education is good—especially sex education," said senior liberal studies major Chris Kazaleh, 23.
Advanced peer counselor and senior psychology major Christine Randolph, 22, was stationed at the CEASE table, ready to distribute information about the university’s new, counseling service on campus.
Through trainings received in counseling courses 605, 606, and 607, undergraduates like Randolph have been certified and trained to provide student's advising and referrals to resources on campus.
"We aren’t professionals with PhD’s, but have practice and training and want to help and listen to your problems. We can identify with students' needs because we go through similar issues," said Randolph.
"If you need someone to listen, we are here for you," she said.
For those interested in becoming peer counselors please contact 415-338-1203.
For professional assistance, students can make appointments by calling 415-338-2208 or visiting the The Counseling and Psychological Services offices, located in the Student Services Building, Room 208.