New SHEC presidents share ideas for year

Leaders aim to engage, inform students

Maddie Lund and Elise Riley

As junior Sexual Health Education Club co-president Philip Djerf led the group’s first meeting Sept. 8, he loved seeing new faces in the club.

According to Djerf, himself and junior Izzi Gilbert Burke are the new presidents of the club for the 2016-17 school year.

Djerf said he loved the turnout of the first meeting, but he wants to increase the diversity of the club as the year moves on.

“We had diversity in terms of race present, but not in terms of gender. I was the only guy there and I think (sexual health) is an issue that definitely affects all genders,” Djerf said. “I think it’s good to try to have more representation of what our school looks like present in the club, because it’s health and everyone needs to know about it — not just one gender.”

According to Sexual Health Education Club (SHEC) adviser Allison Luskey, the first meeting allowed students to voice what they want to learn about in future meetings.

“It was an intro meeting so a lot of it was introducing, going around in a circle and everybody introducing and sharing, and then it was setting up for the year of topics that are of interest to students,” Luskey said.

Djerf said he hopes to remove the stigma surrounding sexual health by engaging students in more casual conversation.

“I’m excited to try to keep creating a school environment where talking about safe and consensual health isn’t such a taboo thing,” Djerf said. “It doesn’t have to be such a big deal and people don’t have to feel ashamed to try to get the help they need.”

According to Djerf, SHEC allows students to be accurately informed about their sexual health.

“For me, I think (SHEC) is really important because the studies have shown that areas with the least (sexual) education have the highest rates of unwanted pregnancies and STIs,” Djerf said.

Luskey said she expects the atmosphere of the club to differ with the new leadership of first year co-presidents Djerf and Gilbert Burke.

“I know that Philip and Izzi are really excited about different topics and ideas that they have, and so I’m staying out of the way and letting them lead and see what they want to do,” Luskey said.

According to Luskey, being student-led makes the club different and more approachable than a regular health class.

“Kids are drawn in because it’s student discussion and it’s sharing of ideas and then listening to ideas other people have, too, and getting multiple perspectives. The hook is that kids pick the topics,” Luskey said.

The next SHEC meeting takes place at 8 a.m. Sept. 24 in room B112.

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