On Feb. 15, members of Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice launched their new comprehensive guide to sexual and reproductive health on campus, titled “Guide to McCosh,” during a three-hour-long tabling event complete with condoms, educational literature, and bubble tea.
PSRJ president Jessica Quinter ’18 explained that the guide has been several years in the making. It provides detailed information about what services are available to University students and information on common sexual health issues, like STIs.
“McCosh [Health Center] offers a lot of really great things you think students don’t know about and aren’t taking advantage of,” Quinter said. She added that she felt holding a physical launch event, in addition to sending a PDF to listservs, was important for increasing student awareness about the guide.
“This isn’t just an email you can delete,” Quinter said, gesturing to the brightly-decorated tables. “We’ve had really good engagement.”
Alongside Alice Longenbach ’18 and Katie Cion ’18, Quinter helped found PSRJ at the beginning of her junior year in response to the lack of pro-choice groups on campus. She has been working on creating the “Guide to McCosh” since then.
“It was just before the 2016 election, which has thrust a lot of reproductive rights issues into the limelight. But those issues just weren’t being discussed on campus even though they’re so important on a national level,” Quinter said. In addition to planning the “Guide to McCosh,” the PSRJ has encouraged students to support laws and policies that help people access reproductive healthcare and has worked to educate students about accessing services like emergency contraception.
Quinter said that though many might assume that University students are generally well-educated about sexual health, undergraduates come from a wide variety of schools and regions and have been exposed to very different kinds of sexual education. “Some students have had very limited or abstinence-only sexual education,” Quinter said.
“I think that like many college campuses, Princeton is pretty liberal, which I think can actually breed a sense of complacency that can be damaging since these are issues that need to be continually worked on, especially with the new administration,” Quinter added. She explained that assumptions about students’ substantive knowledge or political positions on sexual and reproductive health could hinder awareness about campus resources.
“It’s all about leveling the playing field and bringing educational information to students so they can make their own choices regarding their bodies and their sexual health,” she said.
PSRJ advocacy chair Tamar Willis ’19 said that the guide is “crucial” for educating students about the resources they have available to them on campus.
“It’s really important especially, on a college campus, that students are having safe sex and understand all the different options and avenues they have to do so,” Willis said. She added that PSRJ has planned several more events for this year, including a campaign to encourage students to get themselves tested for STIs this April.