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ASCSU reproductive health care initiative launches 1st phase on Plaza

Associated+Students+of+Colorado+State+University+Vice+President+Alex+Silverhart+and+ASCSU+intern+Lauren+Johnson+pose+with+free+emergency+contraceptives+on+The+Plaza+April+24.+
Collegian | Hannah Parcells
Associated Students of Colorado State University Vice President Alex Silverhart and ASCSU intern Lauren Johnson pose with free emergency contraceptives on The Plaza April 24.

Students at Colorado State University had the opportunity to grab free emergency contraceptives Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 24, at The Plaza courtesy of the Associated Students of CSU.

The table featured sexual health care products such as condoms, dental dams and emergency contraceptives commonly known as the morning-after pill. Also available were various flyers featuring information about sexually transmitted infections, testing and treatment resources available to students.

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The result of a yearlong effort by ASCSU Vice President Alex Silverhart, the complimentary products represent a concerted effort to make sexual health care more accessible for students at CSU. 

“I just think it’s so important to increase the access that individuals have to health care, whether that’s free emergency contraceptives, pregnancy tests or STI testing,” Silverhart said. “It’s so important that people have access to these things because if they don’t, it can have really negative impacts on their life.”

The initiative has been spearheaded by Silverhart throughout his tenure as ASCSU vice president and has been a collaborative process with the CSU Health Network. 

“Accessibility is important. Whether that’s accessibility to education, to health care, to housing — it’s important for students to be able to access the resources they need.” –Alex Silverhart, ASCSU vice president

Giving out complimentary contraceptives and informational fliers on STI testing on The Plaza represents a major milestone for the initiative, but the project is ongoing, with plans in place to establish more permanent accessibility.

“The next stage is hopefully having them be permanently accessible within … the (Survivor Advocacy and Feminist Education) Center and the food pantry on campus,” Silverhart said. 

Currently, the team behind the project is hoping to achieve that goal by the end of the semester so students will be able to access those resources as soon as possible. The long-term goal is to establish a vending machine on campus where students will be able to permanently access emergency contraceptives, Silverhart said. 

“It means so much to me to be able to provide students with these free resources because they are so hard to get your hands on,” ASCSU intern Lauren Johnson said. “Especially for people who are of low socioeconomic status who are not able to go in and grab this … on a Sunday when they need it.”

Johnson is one of the students who has collaborated closely with Silverhart on the project. Together, both Johnson and Silverhart have pushed for the initiative to move forward and have cited the importance of accessibility to all forms of health care for students.

“Accessibility is important,” Silverhart said. “Whether that’s accessibility to education, to health care, to housing — it’s important for students to be able to access the resources they need.”

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Several students took advantage of the opportunity to access sexual health care resources for free on The Plaza.

“Especially since we don’t have a lot of income as students, it’s really good to know,” student Annika Lister said. “It’s great to have someone telling us where we can find these resources and exactly how much it’ll cost us (and) having someone to kind of walk us through the process. I think that’s really important.” 

The program is a step toward helping students address their own wellness on campus without having to worry about cost or access, something students expressed gratitude for while stopping by the table. 

“A lot of time, you think, like, ‘Oh, I’m probably not going to be able to afford it, so I’m just not even going to try,’” Lister said. “So this is definitely good for that.”

Reach Hannah Parcells at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @HannahParcells.

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Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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