Utah State University has put a great deal of focus on educating the student body about healthy, consensual sexual relationships over the past year.
Sex + Respect Week, an educational opportunity for students, wrapped up on Friday, Sept 8.
The week-long event was hosted by the Access and Diversity Center to provide support for students to make informed decisions. Macy Keith, the LGBTQA coordinator, said it helped students learn respect for choices, boundaries and the entire Aggie family.
“There is something for every student,” Keith said. “Whether they are in relationships, married, dating or not. This week is encouraging dialogue between students, staff, and faculty about consent and sexual respect.”
Keith hopes that USU students know how seriously the university takes the topic of sex and respect. Students are the number one concern they have, which is why she hopes they take advantage of opportunities like these to educate themselves. Keith also said students who have attended the events have given nothing but positive feedback.
“Students have been happy to see efforts being made by the university to help create a space of open dialogue and learning concerning these topics,” she said.
USU Senior Todd Speckhard attended many of the Sex + Respect week events because he feels that it is an important issue. Speckhard enjoyed his experience with the workshops greatly.
“Surrounding yourself with people who teach and endorse consent, safe sex and healthy relationships is a really empowering experience,” he said.
Speckhard enjoyed many of the workshops, but his personal favorite was the Sex + Respect Panel.
“It had a representative from multiple campus offices that used their expertise to answer any questions students had about sex, consent, health and sexual assault,” he said.
Speckhard was happy to see other students taking advantage of the learning opportunity.
“It makes me feel proud,” he said. “I believe through implementing sex education, our Aggie family culture will shift and we can drastically mitigate sexual assault.”
Many people at USU wanted this event to be put on for a variety of reasons. For Keith, it was all about watching the students learn how to use the skills presented in the workshops.
“I want students to be empowered to talk about their boundaries, what consent means to them and use those tools in their personal relationships for a better, happier experience,” she said.
Keith’s advice to students when it comes to building healthier relationships and consent is to become educated and start conversations. She believes through those conversations, students will become more confident and ready for healthy relationships.
“Empower yourself and your friends,” she said. “And if you’re unsure how to do that, come seek us out – we are here for you.”