Campus Survival Week educates students

“Keep your head on and know who you’re sleeping with,” Gary Conner told a small group last Tuesday night.
Conner presented “The Reality of Unsafe Sex,” an event that was part of last week’s Campus Survival Week.
Campus Survival Week was organized by Campus Life to educate students about a variety of subjects. Events included “Fun Night in the Hut,” “Campus Safety 101,” and “Alcohol & Drug Awareness.”
“We hope the students who attend will, first and foremost, get their questions answered on topics such as the reality of unsafe sex, campus policies and safety, alcohol and other drugs use and abuse,” said Joe Vereen, the Assistant Dean for Campus Life.
“Although attendance was low and this was our first attempt,” Vereen continued, “I believe students, organizations and offices will see the programming offered and will begin to attend and use what is offered to them. I hope to see each programming effort grow, and more and more students each time.”
Despite the low attendance, however, the events made their impact.
At “The Reality of Unsafe Sex,” HIV-positive Gary Conner told students how his disease has affected his life. His purpose now, he believes, is to talk about his experiences.
He talked about the many medicines he must take daily, which Social Security covers only because he had a kidney failure. Social Security does not cover HIV patients, and their medical bills can add up to $35,000 each year.
Conner emphasized that HIV endangers everyone, not just one group or one stereotype. He has only had four partners, he said, and had unsafe sex with only one.
For some audience members, the message hit home.
“Hearing Gary speak made all the information I’d ever heard about safe sex and HIV a whole lot more real,” said sophomore Dana Di Maio. “All of a sudden, there was a real person telling us concrete ways that the consequences of unsafe sex affected every minute of his life.”
Other events targeted different areas of student life. Friday’s “Fun Night in the Hut” focused on the conflict between campus and spiritual life.
Senior Josh Sebastian said, “I’ve become really busy and burned out. Stuff like religion sometimes doesn’t even cross my mind. It is ridiculous that I don’t have time to sit and do nothing. It’s just too easy get over-involved here.”
Students discussed how they cope with this problem. Their solutions included on-campus religious services, stress-relieving visits to the Hut, and, of course, time management.
“I’m really interested in how people’s religions shape their ways of thinking and how they live. Plus, it’s a Friday night, and nothing says ‘Friday night party’ like hanging out in the Hut and eating cupcakes,” said first-year Erin Burns.