Students Health Services at FAMU offers a program every year to get students ready for Valentine's Day. It has been holding this event for the past 10 years. All are invited, singles, couples, or those who are still figuring things out. Either way there is something for everyone and a chance for them to be educated and have a good time.
This year FAMU Student Health Services partnered with Hispanic/Latin x Culture Organization to provide students with the information they need to have a safe and responsible Valentine's Day. Although students were having a good time, the games came with important information about safe sex, dating abuse and more.
Neighborhood Medical Center also attended this event and gave students the opportunity to get tested for both HIV and syphilis. Students were able to learn about how STDs are contracted, prevention methods and their overall status. Couples got to know their status with their partners just in time for Valentine's Day.
Unidos passed out a sheet of paper that went along with its efforts to keep students educated. The sheet consisted of basic Hispanic greetings as a way to warm up the crowd, and to add Hispanic/ Latino culture to the event, according to John Horton, the representative for the Hispanic/ Latin x Culture Organization.
“Spanish language is romantic, "said Horton. “We want to give a little culture to FAMU,” he added.
He says that the goal was for students to get tested and learn about what a healthy relationship looks like. The hand out included information about consent, respect, sexually transmitted infections and sexual harassment.
He also wanted students to get a chance to meet new people and form new relationships during the event. Shawna Gontran was among those who were able to benefit from the event and meet new people .
“It got people together to have a good time and I was able to socialize and bond with students I've never met before,” said Gontran.
Students were able to play trivia games that asked them questions, to test their level of awareness on safe sex, knowing their status and healthy relationships. This trivia game educated students, by giving them the right answer when it was answered wrong so that students could learn and remember the information.
For those who answered the trivia questions correctly, their names were put into a basket for a drawing. If their name was drawn, they won a thermo flask bottle.
“From the trivia questions I learned more information about how to have sex and what STDs are out there,” said Gontran.
For the students who didn’t win anything, there was still a chance for them to win something. When they came to the event, they were given a raffle ticket. The tickets were drawn every hour.
The winning students either went home with a lap desk, a clothing steamer, a portable charger or a 32-inch TV. Aside from students winning prizes they left educated and better understood the different avenues of safe sex.
FAMU Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum said she wanted to educate as many students as she could with this event.
Tatum said she wanted students to know that safer sex can be just as fun and exciting as unprotected sex, but it’s a matter of knowing when and where to get tested with your partner or partners.
“We want students to have a good time but also learn. What's most important is that they know that there are ways to engage in relationships, and be safe about it,” she said. “But also know that they can get tested for different things and that there is treatment that's available.”