With the approach of Valentine’s Day – that hallowed celebration of roses, chocolate and cheeky little candy hearts – comes the inevitable push to purchase items that adequately express your “tru luv” for that special someone.

Even fellow Hoyas get in on the act and sell Valentine’s Day products. Several groups sell flowers, Students Stopping the Trafficking of People sells chocolate and H*yas for Choice sells condom-grams.

Every Halloween and Valentine’s Day, HFC sells these candy-and-condom cards and delivers them around campus. While the condom-grams provide our organization with a fun way to raise money, they have a deeper purpose in how they reflect upon HFC’s ongoing commitment to Georgetown students.

Last September, Trojan Brand Condoms released a “Sexual Health Report Card” ranking 100 U.S. universities on their sexual health services (“Praying for Protection,” THE HOYA, Oct. 17, 2006, A1). The survey based its results on seven parameters: Web site accessibility, condom availability, contraception, testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, sexual assault services, advice columns and question-and-answers, and lectures and outreach programs. Out of 100 schools surveyed, Georgetown received what I and other HFC members consider an embarrassing rank of 80.

H*yas for Choice has long understood the university’s shortcomings in these areas and continues to work rectify the situation. And despite some of the dismal grades the university earned in the categories, Trojan gave us a C in condom availability. At a university that does not supply condoms for its students, the efforts of H*yas for Choice in this area must have factored heavily in the grade.

Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of Georgetown students by providing services and information that the university chooses not to. If we were to respond to GUSA President-elect Ben Shaw’s (COL ’08) campaign slogan, “We love Georgetown, but …” we would say Georgetown does not provide its students with adequate sexual and reproductive health services.

That is where H*yas for Choice steps in. At the end of the day, we are Hoyas just as much as H*yas. We are Georgetown students who love our school and care about our peers. We work to provide services that demonstrate this sentiment.

As is widely known, H*yas for Choice does not receive the same access to university benefits that clubs and organizations in the Student Activities Commission do, but we nonetheless strive to maintain a strong presence on campus and provide the community with an important service. Georgetown is a college campus where plenty of people are having sex, and having the nearest CVS six blocks away is a huge drag. HFC offers a supply of free condoms to anyone who wants or needs them, both at our table in Red Square on Mondays and Thursdays and from condom reps around campus at any time.

Despite what may appear to some to be condom fanaticism (and believe me, we are enthusiastic), HFC’s services extend far beyond the realm of prophylactics. We also supply students with information on a wide range of contraceptive and reproductive matters. In a city where the rate of people infected with HIV/AIDS clocks is a staggering 1 in 20, we feel that we have an obligation to our fellow students to offer comprehensive information about both contraception and STI prevention. This includes literature on the newly approved Human Papilloma Virus vaccine and Plan B (also known as the “morning-after pill”).

We also bring various speakers to campus to educate students on these topics. One of our best annual events is “The Sex Ed You Missed in High School,” a candid educational conversation with Bruce Bonn, a local gynecologist. H*yas for Choice also represents a bastion of pro-choice sentiment on a traditionally conservative campus. We by no means limit ourselves to the issue of abortion, but rather embrace and support choice in all of its forms. Above all else, HFC’s primary goal is to provide support and information to all students for whatever sexual decisions they choose to make.

And so, this Valentine’s Day, we at H*yas for Choice say to our peers at Georgetown: H*ya Saxa!

Samantha Demetriou is a sophomore in the College and a member of H*yas for Choice.

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