Kirstie: My name is Kirstie, and I am a 21 year old senior with an Individualized Major in Visual Arts, Criminal Justice, and Psychology at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. On campus, I am one of 10 Health and Wellness Educators (HAWEs). The HAWEs educate and promote how to life a healthy lifestyle for college students. We do workshops, presentations, one on one motivational interviewing, and campus wide campaigns on alcohol and other drugs, safe sex, fitness, nutrition, stress management, and other general wellness topics.
GYT: What’s the most played song on your ipod?
Kirstie: “Take it off” by Ke$ha
GYT: What is the best thing you learned from MTV’s 10 Most Outrageous Sex Myths show?
Kirstie: The best thing I learned from MTV’s 10 Most Outrageous Sex Myths show was about “double bagging”. I didn’t actually even know that people believed wearing two condoms was better than just one! It was a great thing for me to learn, because if another student came to ask me questions about double bagging, I would have had no idea what to tell them!
GYT: What inspired you to be a GYT ambassador?
Kirstie: I received my first condom demonstration and sex education my freshman year through a popular health group on our campus that had a huge impact on my college life, the Health and Wellness Educators (HAWEs), which I joined at the end of my freshman year and have been involved with ever since. In April 2010, I lead my school to win the GYT Campus Challenge with the help and support of other HAWEs, my supervisor, and our Health Services’ Office. I was amazed at how many students did not know that they could get tested and have it be covered under our student health insurance at school. I loved working with our Health Services’ office staff, and other Health and Wellness Educators (HAWEs) about how to spread the word to our student body.
GYT: Tell us about your school joining the GYT campaign
Kirstie: Back in April 2010, my campus won the GYT Campus Challenge. Our Health Services’ Office ran out of rapid HIV testing kits during that time because so many students went and got tested there! We spread the word about GYT through creative flyers designed by MTV as well as flyers we created ourselves specific for our campus, Facebook event invitations, emails from our Student Senate Office, and business card sized handouts to give to people as they walked around campus. Since last April, GYT has been incorporated into every sex workshop we offer through our office, which are our most requested workshops.
We’ve had a great response to GYT on our campus from both the student body and our professional staff. The student body at Roger Williams University takes their health very seriously, and the number of students who went and got tested sky-rocketed after they found out the shocking statistic that 1 in 2 sexually active young people would get an STD by 25. Our Health Services’ Office provides testing for students for little or no cost, and our student health insurance covers $100 in testing costs every academic year, so even for the testing that does cost money, students can get tested at least once a year and have it be completely covered under the student insurance.
GYT: Sounds like your school has a lot going on, so how can students best get involved on campus?
Kirstie: First, it’s important to start with yourself. You can’t fully spread the word on GYT if you don’t know your own status. So Get Yourself Tested… then get your partner(s), family, friends, peers, etc to GYT too. You can brag about how easy it was to GYT to others so that more people will listen to you.
If you are a student at Roger Williams University, you can apply to work in the Health Education Office. We have work study positions available, as well as internships and independent studies for up to 3 credits. In these positions, you would work both directly and indirectly with the HAWEs and Director of Health Education on health topics, including safe sex and GYT!
If you are a local Rhode Island resident, you can volunteer or donate to an organization that provides testing and other services, like Planned Parenthood or AIDS Care Ocean State in Providence, RI. You can find these places, and others that are similar, by searching for a local clinic on GYTNOW.org