Katherine Kohls

Monday marked the start of the Sexual Awareness Week at Miami University.

According to Nicole Gillens, a senior health studies major and co-chair of Sexual Awareness Week, the main goal of the week is to increase the average student’s general knowledge of safe sexual behavior. The week is sponsored by Health Advocates for Wellness Knowledge and Skills (HAWKS), Gillens said.

Christine Barrett, an assistant awareness manager for HAWKS and a co-chair of the campaign, said HAWKS usually sponsors one or two campaigns per month.

“We are putting extra thought into this campaign because it is newer to us,” Barrett said.

Barrett said Sexual Awareness Week targets both male and female students.

According to Gillens, February is a common month for people to begin seeking more information on sexual health because of Valentine’s Day.

The campaign co-chairs – Gillens, Barrett, Renee Angelo and Sena Quist – said they began planning in January.

Gillens said the plans for Sexual Awareness Week will involve table tents in dining halls with information about safe-sex as well as sexual health information printed on the “toilet talk” flyers in first-year residence hall bathrooms.

Additionally Gillens said HAWKS representatives will be handing out free condoms at the hub Wednesday.

“The goal for the week is have people make more conscious decisions now that they have the information,” Gillens said.

Barrett said representatives will have a table at Student Health Services to answer questions throughout the week.

According to Barrett, condoms and HIV testing are free to students year-round at the Student Health Services clinic. The campaign began in early February when HAWKS representatives placed cut-outs of lips around campus. HAWKS printed the word “kiss” across the lips, which Gillens said stands for “keep it sexually safe.”

Barrett said the kiss approach is a new tactic suggested to HAWKS by the Bacchus Network. According to Gillens, the Bacchus Network is a national organization that helps college organizations promote sexual responsibility. Gillens said Student Health Services receives information and materials from Bacchus to help Miami’s HAWKS program.

Barrett said HAWKS also sponsors campaigns about safe alcohol consumption, body image, flu prevention and other general health topics. She added HAWKS representatives often give speeches to first-year residence halls, fraternities and sororities. Gillens said HAWKS will also sponsor a “Safe Spring Break” campaign in March. She said much of the same information from this week’s campaign will be reiterated with an added emphasis on safe alcohol consumption.