By Hannah Smith– 1851 Staff
Student intern for Lasell’s Peer Health Educators, Corey Zemke, discusses her mission of promoting sexual education on campus this semester.
Hannah Smith: Where does your passion for sexual education come from?
Corey Zemke: I knew that the Peer Health Educators did things revolving around sexual education, but they’ve never done much and the students have been requesting more. Allison Weinberg [Witcomb], my advisor (and the peer health professional staff leader), let me have full reins and I’m running with it.
HS: Where did you get most of your sexual education from?
CZ: I had to take a sex education class in middle school. So, I would say I got most of my education from that. But I also took a lot from the media and my older sister, who’s 25 now.
HS: Do you think that you had all the information you should have when you started to become sexually active?
CZ: Oh god, no. I became sexually active when I was 17 and I was totally unaware of what I was doing. I don’t really think anyone has all the information that they need and that’s why I’m passionate about educating on the topic.
HS: How do you plan on educating college students this semester?
CZ: Something I’m working on this semester is a series of events based off of sex education that will lead up to a bigger event that I want to do, called sex in the dark. We’re going to have “sex-perts,” including someone from planned parenthood, a sex therapist and some other people that are going to be announced, who are going to be in a dark room. This creates an environment where you can ask your questions anonymously and no matter what the question, it will get answered.
HS: Why do you think that sexual education is an important topic to base your internship around?
CZ: I think it’s important because there’s really nobody that knows everything. It’s a topic that in regard to STIs and pregnancies, especially within a college student’s age, nobody wants to talk about because it’s so highly stigmatized.
HS: Why do you think that the topic is so stigmatized?
CZ: I think that it’s because everyone thinks that they know everything they need to know and have all the information that they need…because nobody wants to talk about it…On the one hand it makes sense that it’s stigmatized because it’s such an intimate and personal thing, but on the other hand it’s so prevalent in the media and in people’s lives that they should be educated and able to talk about it.
HS: When do you plan on hosting these events?
CZ: There should be some teasers going out at the end of this semester that I’m currently working on with Peer Health, but the bigger events will be held next semester.
HS: You said that everyone on the campus would benefit from the events, how do you feel about staff and faculty attending to get educated?
CZ: Oh? I hadn’t thought of marketing to them. Of course, they’re welcome, my only hesitation is making students feel comfortable and I don’t know if that would change if faculty and staff were there.
HS: What do you think is one of the most leading issues in sexual health across college campus?
CZ: If I had to pick one, it would be unprotected sex and not having access to contraception. At Lasell, for example, you can get condoms in the health center and in the counseling center, but they’re only open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. So, after 4:00 p.m. or on the weekends our students don’t have access unless you’re going out and paying for it, which students either can’t or don’t be bothered to do.