In an attempt to make condoms more accessible to Georgetown students at parties, H*yas for Choice officially announced their new condom delivery service today, Oct. 17. Students hosting parties can now request for H*yas for Choice to deliver condoms to their events.
The idea for a condom delivery system began when both members of the club and outside students voiced concerns about the limited availability of contraceptions provided by H*yas for Choice.
“People would come up to us at the table and make comments on how we only table from 10 am to 4 pm,” said Abigail Grace (SFS ‘16), vice president of H*yas for Choice. “That’s not necessarily prime time when you need to find a condom immediately.”
“I think this was just sort of a collection of comments and ideas. During SAC fair, we pitched [the condom delivery system] to a few frats and gauged their responses,” said Lanier Hagerty (SFS ‘14), campus outreach coordinator for H*yas for Choice. “Getting [condoms] into parties would make a lot of sense.”
The online form for the condom delivery system asks questions such as the estimated attendance of the party, where the party will be, and if a person requires pick-up or delivery. Students can access the form at tinyurl.com/hfcdelivery.
After someone either picks up the condoms or a H*yas for Choice member delivers them, the person hosting the party will be responsible for providing them to people.
At a recent party this past weekend, H*yas for Choice held a test-run of the condom delivery service.
“It’s not awkward. We just put them in a bowl in the corner. There were around 40 condoms in there when the night began, and there were maybe 10 when the night ended,” Grace said. “People take them because you put them in an inconspicuous place.”
Thomas Lloyd (SFS ‘15), who attended the party, said, “I think the people really liked it. It was a sign of good intent by promoting safe sex at parties and being responsible adults.”
Some people, however, have criticized the condom delivery system. “Hoyas do not need more contraception, or a more efficient method of distributing them,” said Andrew Schilling (COL ‘14), outside guard of the Knights of Columbus. “Unfortunately, the proposed plan does nothing to tackle the urgent problems of Georgetown’s current hook-up culture, like the high rate of sexual violence committed against women.”
Grace strongly rebuked this idea. “To me, when people say that, it is ridiculous. Why is a person who is already going to assault someone who sees a condom more likely to assault someone? … Is what [an attacker] thinking about, ‘I need a condom’?” she said. “We recognize that [sex is] going to happen. I think that being prepared in all sense and to make this campus as safe of a place as possible is what we’re trying to do.”
Grace cites D.C.’s high HIV rate and the threat of other STDs as more reasons to increase access to condoms. According to a report by the D.C. Department of Public Health in 2012, 2.7 percent of D.C. residents were living with HIV by the end of 2010, the highest rate in the nation.
“D.C. has one of the highest AIDS rates in the nation,” Grace said. “Instead of viewing Georgetown as a bubble, when you look at the situation, you realize … we might be on a Catholic campus, but the second you walk out those gates, that doesn’t guarantee what’s happening out there.”
As a measure to add context to the presence of condoms at parties, H*yas for Choice plans to give out pamphlets informing students the condoms are not present to promote sex, and detailing the dangers of sexual assault.
Despite its conflicting views with H*yas for Choice, the University will not interfere with the establishment of this program.
“This group is not an organization with access to benefits and they don’t use University resources,” said Todd Olson, vice president of student affairs. “We know that members of this group are our students and our individual students certainly have rights and we respect the autonomy of our students. As such, we believe this activity falls within the rights of our students as individuals.”
The pick-up location for condoms will be Red Square, a free speech zone.
“The point is they are either picking it up in Red Square or someone is delivering it to someone,” Hagerty said. “Unless the University wants to say that you cannot have condoms, there is no conflict that I can see.”
Grace hopes people will understand the presence of condoms is not meant to promote sex, and that the new service only seeks to provide students with more access to condoms. “Condoms are expensive. People don’t talk about that either,” Grace said.
“[George Washington University] has condoms in their vending machines. If you’re going to argue that having condoms around promotes sex, then that would be promoting sex on a daily basis,” Hagerty said. “It’s more about increasing accessibility. If we can’t put condoms in vending machines, then we’ll put them in parties.”