Students flock to safe-sex table at substance abuse and resource fair
By Michelle Delgado
Representatives at the Substance Abuse and Resource Fair Oct. 13 stood behind tables ready to answer questions and provide information while fanning themselves and remarking on the heat as they withstood the high temperatures.
But they were still willing to help students who signed up to quit smoking, learned about drug rehabilitation and tested themselves for PTSD or eating disorders.
One table in particular attracted more than 300 participants during the fair.
Representatives from ¡Hazlo! and the Play Campaign from University Health System teamed up to provide a variety of condoms, lubricants and quick surveys.
“We raise awareness about sexual health and substance use and abuse,” ¡Hazlo! coordinator Robyn Stassen said. “We’re trying to get more faculty involved to have us implement our interventions.”
The program offers interventions for classes at this college. An intervention involves presenting an informational video such as “Voices,” which teaches about the various types of condoms available for safe sex.
Another intervention is the Alcohol Literacy Challenge, which points out the difference between safe drinking and dependence and tolerance.
Wellness stations funded by the ¡Hazlo! grant have been introduced this semester, which include free condoms and information pamphlets throughout this campus, including the first floors of Gonzales Hall, Loftin Student Center and Moody Learning Center.
The table was used to present an array of condoms such as ribbed, colored and even glow in the dark; some were used as an example on models called “woodies.”
However, some passers-by weren’t too eager about the new feature around campus.
“It’s kind of like promoting sex,” kinesiology sophomore Jasmine Zuniga said, “and having it everywhere can also offend people’s beliefs.”
Others were ecstatic about it.
“It is so important because a lot of guys don’t like condoms and they might pressure girls into not using them,” biology-English sophomore Catherine Champion said.
“Girls don’t usually carry condoms on them because it’s embarrassing to buy them, especially with a male cashier,” she continued. “This is just easier where you can just grab it and go.”
It’s important to provide knowledge and resources to students, said Holly Benavides, program manager at University Health System.
“People are going to have the same amount of sex they always have been having; they’re just going to do it with the knowledge of knowing where they can access protection now,” she said.
“Our condoms are being taken all the time. If it weren’t for these resources, they probably wouldn’t be using them,” she said. “Either stay protected and prevent diseases or just hide it because people don’t want to talk about it.”
For more information, call Stassen at 210-486-1262 or visit the SAC ¡Hazlo! Facebook page.
Some on-campus representatives participated in the event by allowing students to learn more about themselves.
Counseling services provided a row of laptops for students to engage in free health screenings that tested for PTSD, drugs and alcohol abuse, anxiety, bipolar and eating disorders.
“These screenings help us know what kind of programming we need to do,” faculty counselor Melissa Sutherland said.
A one-question survey was also provided for students to take part in the official name of the counseling services department.
“Students always get us confused with advising but we do the mental health counseling,” she said, “so we’re trying to see what name would make sense to them.”
Counseling services are available for individuals, groups or even student couples at this college.
The screenings can be accessed online by going to alamo.edu/sac; under current students select counseling, then free alcohol/mental health screening.
For more information, visit counseling services on the first floor of Moody Learning Center or call 210-486-1620.
Other vendors promoted a service that helps people with just a few taps on their phone.
Representatives from the UT Health Science Center presented a texting program called Quitxt, which helps people quit smoking.
This free program will send daily text messages to the user featuring tips on how to help break the habit, as well as linked webpages for more information.
“A lot of people stop by and say they have tried to quit several times so they decide to try this program,” said Andrea Fernandez, research coordinator at the UT Health Science Center.
The text messages that the user receives from the program go beyond tips and reminders.
This is because of the automated quick response interactive component.
“If a smoker has the urge to smoke, they can text the program and it will respond right away,” Fernandez said, “If ‘bad mood’ is sent to Quitxt, a video of cats or laughing babies may come back.”
Text iquit0 to 57682 to get free Quitxt messages on any mobile device.
For more information, visit quitxt.org/zero.
Nonprofit organization Lifetime Recovery presented their services while welcoming anyone who is in need of help.
The company offers substance disorder treatment for people with drug and alcohol issues.
Alternative financing is also available.
“If a person doesn’t have any money, we can get them in and make sure they get the help they need,” Recovery Links manager Amelia Reed said.
Their 94-bed men’s residential center offers up to 90 days of treatment; if a female is in need of residency, the organization partners with Alpha Home, a women’s treatment center.
“If anybody needs help, don’t let money be an obstacle for getting treatment,” she said.
For more information, call 210-633-0201 or visit the Lifetime Recovery Facebook page.
Toiletry items are being accepted for Lifetime Recovery 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Room 323 of Nail Technical Center. Items such as body wash, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant are acceptable donations.