Pillows shaped like genitalia, dildos and condoms; these are only some of the things one will find in the Vandenberg dining center Friday.
The cafeteria is not being converted into an adult novelty shop. Rather a program entitled “Who’s got crabs?” will be taking place at 7 p.m.
Organized by senior nursing student Simon Keleel, the event is designed to educate Oakland University Housing residents and other participants about sex, contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases and communication between partners.
“The program is not meant to endorse sexual activities,” Keleel said. “It’s meant to educate residents and participants on healthy sexual decisions and that abstinence is the only way to protect against STDs and pregnancy.”
In its fourth year of existence now, Keleel hopes to bring his attendance numbers up. His initial audience of 40 grew to 130 last year. He hopes to have a group of 150 this year.
The hour and a half long program will start off with skits about communication regarding condom usage and how to combat those pushing for unprotected sex.
Attendees are encouraged to participate in the open discussion. Keleel acknowledges that some may feel uncomfortable with the subject matter.
“Who doesn’t want to go to a program that’s entitled ‘Who’s got crabs?'” Whitney Litzner, a past participant said. “The program is so interesting and educational, but it’s so funny at the same time and that’s what makes it such a great program.”
Disclaimers are given about the nature of the program at the beginning and posted around the venue.
“People normally laugh when they’re uncomfortable and we have humor within the program, so you really can’t tell if someone’s uncomfortable or not because everybody is laughing anyway,” Keleel said. “We talk about penises. We talk about vaginas and say the words that you don’t say at the dinner table.”
Keleel encourages attendees who leave to come back after the program to ask resident advisors any unanswered questions and to contact him or the Graham Health Center with questions.
After the skits are completed, the room will then be split into groups for a game-show style game about sexual education.
Categories include “pick your protection,” “genital slang,” “drips and sores,” “positions,” “decode your discharge” and “miscellaneous orgy.”
In keeping with the “anything-goes” atmosphere of topical discussions, the category “positions” is acted out as opposed to described in Jeopardy-style.
The winning team will score free Trojan brand condoms, courtesy of Graham Health Center.
Questions during the following educational session are answered by Keleel. Questions he cannot answer will be deferred to Julie Thams, a physician assistant at Graham Health Center.
In addition to the question-and-answer segment, Keleel also performs experiments that highlight how easily condoms can break because of using oil-based lubricants.
Kenny Marion, a friend of Keleel’s, will be attending for the first time and is also involved in one this year’s demonstrations.
“It’s going to be a good, informative event but it’s also going to be fun,” Marion said. “Simon likes to put on a good time so it’s not going to be a boring lecture or sex education class.”
He will be blowing up a condom on his head for the event.
“Who’s got crabs?” began when Keleel teamed up with another RA and began to brainstorm “big, large-scale programs” in order to fulfill one of the requirements of being an RA.
Litzner, also a former RA, has helped Keleel with “Who’s got crabs?” in addition to hosting her own programs, which are interactive events with residents of student housing.
She said that there are no other programming events that are done to the scale of Keleel’s.
The idea came just as spring break was around the corner, spurring the idea of ‘spring break souvenirs,’ or STD awareness.
“I’m excited for it; it’s a good topical issue … the whole college and unprotected sex thing,” Marion said.
Since then, it has been done the week before spring break.
“They are timed around Valentine’s Day and spring break,” Thams said. “We want to help decrease risks of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.”
Due to scheduling conflicts this year, Keleel moved it to an earlier Friday, making the event coincidentally fall right before Valentine’s Day.
“I don’t want to just be selling sex throughout the entire program,” Keleel said. “You’re going to come with a bunch of other people and it’s not just you walking into a doctor’s office asking uncomfortable questions.”
The program will be evaluated by a wellness, health promotion and injury prevention class called Evaluation of Health and Wellness Programs (WHP 460), which he is “excited” about.
Keleel is graduating in December and hopes to become a registered nurse. Though he is unsure about the future of the unique program, he hopes to be invited back to campus by University Housing in order to continue doing this event.
Though it is not required of him to put on this program, as he is no longer an RA, Keleel voluntarily organized it this year.
“Everybody asks questions and that keeps me wanting to do it more,” Keleel said. “It’s really cool knowing that people are walking away from the program learning something.”
“Who’s got crabs?” will take place in the Vandenberg dining center this Friday at 7 p.m.
—Contributor Brad Slazinski and staff intern Jen Bucciarelli contributed to this report