Rolling condoms over bananas and selling roses made from a pencil and four latex rubbers are just two of the attention-grabbing tactics used by a campus group to educate students about sex.
CREWS – Creating Respect Educating Wellness for Students – was created with the purpose of risk reduction while understanding that students will make their own choices, said Gwen Sieving, a health educator at Hartshorn Health Service.
“Abstinence is your best choice, but if you have sex, make sure it’s safe,” she said.
The “Condom Rose” campaign hammers home the message to use protection if choosing to have sex. The rose – made from a pencil as the stem and four condoms as petals – is available to students for a buck at the health center.
“We don’t want to be perceived as the sex group, but it’s extremely important that people are given correct information,” Sieving said.
The group provides alcohol and tobacco information as well.
Alcohol is plentiful in a quintessential college town like Fort Collins, but there are several factors students can keep in mind to drink responsibly, Sieving said.
In addition to reminding students about the importance of designated drivers, the peer group teaches techniques that reduce alcohol’s impact on the body, including eating before consuming alcohol and drinking water between alcoholic drinks.
“We’re not saying don’t do it,” said Christina Mijares, a junior social work and ethnic studies major, summing up the group’s philosophy. “But be safe with your actions and know there are consequences.”
The condoms-on-bananas stunt is used to educate students about the 13 steps needed to put on and use a condom, Sieving said.
And when it’s all over, the bananas are put to good use.
No. Not that.
“We have banana splits with the bananas,” Sieving said. “Some people think it’s gross but most people are happy.”
Stomp, Romp & Wag
CREWS’ tobacco education front will be on display Wednesday when the group will help out with the fourth annual Stomp, Romp & Wag, an event designed to spotlight the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on pets.
Students and faculty are encouraged to bring their dogs to participate in the day’s events, but all are welcome, with or without a pet in hand (or on leash).
Some attractions include a doggy spa, pet massage therapists and animal competitions, including Doggy Idol and an owner-pet look-alike contest.
“The real purpose of the event is to raise awareness that secondhand smoke is dangerous to pets,” Sieving said.
Secondhand smoke exposure can cause dogs allergic reactions, cats oral cancer, and birds respiratory problems, according to the American Lung Association.
The association also states that just two cigarette butts eaten by a puppy can cause death in a relatively short period of time.
Stomp, Romp & Wag will take place on the north lawn of Hartshorn Health Service from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
CREWS recruits in the fall. The only requirement is that applicants be first-semester juniors or younger.
Members work about 10 to 12 hours per month and receive course credits.
The group is especially looking for diversity in three areas: life experiences, ethnicity and majors.
Despite the group’s racy tactics, it’s generally pretty conservative and advocates the sound advice of respected organizations, said Chris Miller, CREWS student coordinator.
“We’re stressing things that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and other government agencies are advocating,” he said.
And above all, Miller added, the group is effective.
“Students tend to listen to peers more than authority figures,” he said.