Last week Northwestern SHAPE introduced Sexual Health 202, a presentation "which provides an in-depth look on STIs, HIV, contraception and abortion." NBN sat down with SHAPE's director, SESP fourth-year Sam Berston, to discuss the goals of the organization, as well as their reason for joining.
NBN: What is SHAPE?
Berston: Shape stands for Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators, and our main mission is to increase comfort around sexuality and also provide resources to deal with assault and to prevent assault before it happens.
NBN: How do you do that?
Berston: So the main way we do that is through giving presentations on campus. We also put on events related to sex positivity and events with other student organizations. And then we also distribute resources every week, giving out condoms and lube in Norris. Our events can span a pretty wide area.
NBN: What is SHAPE up to right now?
Berston: We just did an event called pillow talk, which was like an open mic, sex-positive space at the Women's Center and people just came and hung out. Something we're doing at the end of this quarter is an affinity group mixer; we’ve invited 11 different affinity groups to that. If you are a part of an affinity group please reach out to us, we would love to connect and collaborate. Another thing we're really working towards right now is intersexuality and inclusion within our programing to be aware of how different identities that students embody influence their relationship toward sexuality and sexual health and assault.
NBN: What are the goals of the club?
Berston: One of the main things is just to improve peoples' awareness of consent among the Northwestern undergrad student body, to improve the ways people deal with hookups and just making sure consent is present in all relationships.
NBN: Why did you join?
Berston: I actually wanted to join SHAPE right after I saw the performance during Wildcat Welcome, because I felt like it was a space that my values really aligned with. It was a safe space to explore how your identities and sexualities intersected. I continued with the club and got into events planning. Eventually I became director senior year.
It's definitely been a really great community and group of friends, and just a really supportive place to know that there are people on campus who I align with in terms of values. [SHAPE is] a place where I can feel really included as a gender nonconforming person too.
I feel like the main thing that really makes us unique is how we really want to engage the community. It's really all about getting the community involved in these discussions.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.