Project Condom talks safe sex practices through fashion

Savannah Nguyen, Senior A&C Reporter

For its second season, Project Condom brought sex education to Appalachian’s campus by merging art and fashion with the theme “the great outdoors.” For some, sexual health may not be the easiest topic to bring up, but Project Condom aims to make the conversation about protection and sexual education less taboo with the help of sponsors One Condoms and Global Protection.

The theme for this year’s fashion show was directly inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains and all of the outdoor activities that students have the opportunity to engage in.

Similar to how one would safely prepare for an adventure into the wilderness, Project Condom prepares students by promoting safe measures when it comes to sex through sexual health awareness.

“What good is a tent if it has a hole in it if you know what I mean,” senior biology major Sydney Hobart said.

Hobart was one of the event’s hosts and is also the president of Wellness Educators for Change, Advocacy, and Student Needs, or WE CAN. The organization is a wellness peer educator group dedicated to the health and well-being of students at Appalachian.

In collaboration with WE CAN and APPS Cultural Awareness and Student Engagement council, Project Condom was able to introduce seven groups to the runway. Each group headed the task of hand-making an outfit completely out of condoms.

Model and junior computer information systems major Nancy Saldana, representing the Hispanic Student Association, came on stage in a condom-covered gown that mimicked the style and vibrant colors associated with Mexican traditional dress. Nancy said the gown further represented female sexuality and health through the symbolism of a flower.

“In order to preserve a flower’s health and beauty, an abundance of attention must be given to it, and the same can be said for a women’s sexual health,” Saldana said.

Saldana also shared with the audience the importance of this event for the Hispanic community.

“The Hispanic community does not talk about sexual health as much. So just having all these people from HSA coming forth has meant a lot to me,” Saldana said.

Sexual violence was also a grounding topic of Project Condom. Sorority Alpha Gamma Delta spoke about sexual assault and rape culture within Greek life as well as the stigmas associated with confronting sexual assault aggressors.

Emily Lower, junior risk management and insurance major and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, sported a condom-inspired windbreaker with matching shorts and hiking boots. She spoke about the role of sisterhood in encouraging survivors to feel safe when talking about sexual assault, a taboo topic within the Greek community.

“The prevalence, especially in the Greek community, of rape culture is very ignored. So being in Greek life, in a sorority, these kinds of issues get passed by,” Lower said. “If your own sister comes up to you and confesses, even if you like that fraternity or that sorority, you should still be comfortable coming forward with that and not try to protect the name of the organization.”

The new student organization, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, also participated in the event by representing the Boy Scouts of America motto, “Be prepared.” Planned Parenthood Generation Action, like Planned Parenthood, said it believes in practicing positive sexual health by being educated about smart practices.

“A big part of what Planned Parenthood does is supply resources and education on sexual health. Our outfit represented that model by including patches that include resources on campus like the Condom Fairy,” sophomore social work major Meg Bacon said.

In addition to the Condom Fairy, a resource that supplies free condoms, there are other resources on campus that students can utilize to become more engaged with safer sex practices. Wellness and Prevention Services provides sexual health consultations where students can ask about their personal sexual health needs.

Offices such as the Women’s Center and the LGBT Center advertise that they are also resources for students seeking safe spaces, and the Red Flag Campaign is another active force in educating people about sexual violence and encouraging bystanders of violence to speak out.

With Project Condom wrapped up, organizers continue the conversation of safe sex practices through the organizations WE CAN and APPS Cultural Awareness and Student Engagement council.

Story by: Savannah Nguyen, A&E Reporter

Photos by: Halle Keighton, Photo Editor