Health groups join together for education, awareness

insideout

By Kerry Ingram, Assistant Arts & Life Editor
Featured image courtesy of Variety.com

“Feelin’ You,” an event coordinated by Towson University’s Health Center, Sexual Assault Peer Educators (SAPEs) and Body Image Peer Educators, worked to promote healthy communication in relation to sex, body image and emotions Sept. 15.

The event was held at the Potomac Lounge in the University Union, and included various activities to encourage communication amongst attendees, as well as a free screening of the Disney film “Inside Out.”

“The first six weeks of a semester is when students experience the most high-risk situations in terms of their physical and emotional health,” said Craig Scott, coordinator of the “Feelin’ You” event. “The goal is to prevent those situations from happening, as much as possible.”

An intimate group of students gathered outside the lounge beforehand to connect with one another and discuss their struggles with self-image and communication.

“I don’t feel like I’m good when it comes to opening up to people,” said Rebekah Rivas, an elementary education major and transfer student at Towson. “I’m hoping to learn more about how to easily express myself.”

SAPEs and the Body Image Peer Educators welcomed free communication, tabling outside the Potomac Lounge to greet and teach event attendees.

One table included an affirmation scale, which provided an inspirational quote instead of a calculated weight whenever a person stepped on it.

Free washable tattoos were also provided, allowing guests to mingle while getting a temporary mark of recognition for attending the awareness event.

Each table had pamphlets and brochures providing information in regard to personal health, and the peer educators running the tables were full of further statistics and data that contributed to the night by introducing new considerations.

“One in four women in their lifetime will experience sexual assault,” said Leila Young, the Community Service and Outreach Lead for SAPE.

SAPE’s Social Media Lead, Nicole Mueller, had more stats to add to the conversation.

“One in three women will experience relationship violence in their lifetime,” Mueller said. “For men, it’s one in four. It’s important for us to have these types of events on Towson’s campus so people can see these issues as real, and so that we can promote safer sex and sex positivity.”

According to Kiran Kaur, a Towson graduate assistant and Body Image Peer Educator, events advocating the importance of mental and physical health have been held at Towson before, but “Feelin’ You” is the first major collaboration between organizations.

“This is the first time all of our groups are coming together,” Kaur said. “I think this is a nice, open scenario for communication, and the fact that we’re all peer educators and we all cover different realms of health is helpful. It’ll help make students feel more comfortable to speak with us.”

Bringing college students together to openly communicate was the common goal agreed upon by everyone, and for some students, the event allowed for just that.

“Initially, I came for the movie, and then it was more motivation to come once I learned it was focused on health and communication,” Rivas said. “Now, I see that it’s cool and totally okay to discuss what you’re going through. It really helps.”

The event drew a smaller group of students than anticipated; however, Scott still saw the night as a nice success.

“If I could just impact even just one student, that’s enough,” Scott said. “I still know that at least one person has been helped.”

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