Sunday, April 18, 2010

Condom Co-op

Since I am only taking 13 units this quarter (12 is the minimum to be full time but a usual course load is 15) I have time to volunteer a few hours a week at the Condom Co-op/Student Health Outreach and Promotion office. It's a very important program that buys condoms in bulk (like, really bulk) and resells them cheaply to students, plus also has loads of pamphlets and info to direct students to the campus resources they need for like health and counseling. We have an indoor office that's permanent, and also set up tables outside the bookstore and dining halls. About 15 girls were at the training, and 6 were in sororities with sorority pins. This is a really high proportion at Santa Cruz, so maybe it was for their community service. Idk. It reminded me of when a girl in my econ class had to wear an outfit of condoms (I don't remember what because I didn't pay close attention because she didn't seem to want any attention, which imo is not the way to wear a condom outfit, but I think it was inflated condoms on a large hat) because she was pledging, which I did not bring up.

My 3 hour training was yesterday, mostly about sex dangers with only a short portion about setting up the booth, rates, and dealing with students. It was good to learn because I haven't had to learn about that stuff since my freshman seminar, and the group was positive and we laughed a lot, and it was all girls except one of the guys running it. But it was also worrying, because lots of volunteers were pretty mis/uninformed. I mean, we sell condoms 2 for a quarter, we're not health counselors. But still, people will ask us things and we should know the answers. The U in IUD stands for Uterine, not Urinary. And sex toys for anal play need a flared base. And so on.

Also when we put expired condoms on the wooden demo model (as we are supposed to be able to show if people ask) lots of people didn't follow the directions. I think it's because we were all girls, and people are usually only in charge of putting on only the things they personally are wearing, but still, there are only like 3 steps, so just learn them. Actually from all the help we needed, there might be like 7 steps, starting with "make sure it's like a sombrero, not like a beanie." To me that is help that makes it harder, because you have a sentence to memorize instead of just thinking "I bet the part I unroll should be on the outside so I can unroll it." Also, opening the condoms was really hard

They were this kind but I think the old kind (which these were, since they were expired) had notches in the middle instead of one on the end. Tricky, especially for those of us with lube on our hands from investigating the Female Condom.

I was one of the last to sign up for a shift, and yet the shift I wanted (at the SHOP office so I don't have to carry the giant totes of condoms and store them overnight until the SHOP office opens, nor set up a table or anything), late in the day on a Tuesday, was open! And I got a shirt!

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