The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Hancock Commons Hosts Inaugural Social Justice and Wellness Fair

Thomas Kim

Colgate University’s Hancock Commons hosted a Social Justice and Wellness Fair in collaboration with the Office of LGBTQ+ Initiatives on Wednesday, Nov. 29, as part of HIV/AIDS Awareness Week. The event brought together groups from across campus to engage in conversations and activities pertaining to sexual and residential wellness.

Hancock Commons has never hosted an event of this kind before; however, it is planning on hosting more fairs each semester as its signature event. By hosting the Social Justice and Wellness Fair, the residential community hopes to continue its legacy of committing to wellness and activism.

Residential Fellow and alumnus Thomas Kim ’23 helped organize the event and discussed Hancock Commons’ commitment to events that make a difference on campus.

“Hancock Commons, among all the commons, has a heritage of social justice and different aspects of wellness,” Kim said. “So the motive behind [the fair] was to promote Hancock Commons as the pioneer of on-campus social justice and wellness-related activism.”

The fair included different booths that provided activities, information and places for conversation surrounding sexual wellness and residential well-being.

Director for Hancock Commons Riley Quigley spoke about the importance of having a fair related to sex and wellbeing on campus. 

“I think one of the larger focuses that we have this year is just breaking down the stigma behind anything sex-related within the residential experience, because that’s just a part of what’s going on, and I think it’s more important to give people the autonomy to have those conversations openly,” Quigley said.

One of the booths at the event provided resources and information for a new initiative that provides free sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing for people who are asymptomatic. Junior Ruby Macfarlane, who is the co-leader of the Public Health Initiatives club, discussed the need for free testing on campus.

“If you’re having sex, it’s important to get tested for a variety of reasons,” Macfarlane said. “You don’t want to spread [STIs]. There can be long-lasting infertility issues, and you could develop symptoms.”

Junior Christina Oberting is also a co-leader for Public Health Initiatives and hopes this new program will help lessen the stigma surrounding STIs and make testing more accessible.

“Not everyone is going to want to pay for that [testing] if they don’t go through their insurance or to see that clip on their insurance if they’re on their parent’s plan,” Oberting said. “So I think a really big step toward that is offering [free testing] so they can just go independently. It just makes it more comfortable and maybe that will spark a little bit of change in the stigma.” 

Those behind the organization of the fair are hopeful that the event was able to facilitate learning and conversation about topics of sexual wellness.

“Colgate is a residential college, so we wanted to provide a bridge for students to connect with pertinent social issues that connect to social justice and wellness,” Kim said.

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