Students ask sex and drug questions anonymously on Yik Yak and seek answers

Katherine G. Krajcik – Special to the Southern News

Resident advisors are always working with their hall council to put together informative and fun programs for their dorm residents, but sometimes only a handful of people will show up.

On Feb. 3 though, the resident advisors of Hickerson Hall put on a different kind of program called “Hick Yak” and all of the seats were filled in.

There were four different panels for four different discussions and the topics included drug and alcohol abuse, sexual orientation and gender identity, SCSU becoming a tobacco free campus and healthy relationships.

What made this program different from others was how the audience asked the panels their questions.

Instead of raising a hand and just asking the question out loud, the audience was instructed to download “Yik Yak,” a social media app where you can anonymously post and view the “yaks” of people around you, and ask it on there.

Junior Cody Edison, a chemistry major and RA in Hickerson, came up with the name of the program.

Edison was a part of the drug and alcohol panel and he said because of the chemistry classes that he has taken, he was able to answer people’s questions about certain drugs and the effects they have on your brain.

“Our overall message was that it is okay to ask the tough questions about the tough topics, but try to learn how to do it face to face because sometimes when you ask a question anonymously, it may not get answered” Edison said.

The second panel discussion was on sexual orientation and gender identity and how SCSU is working on ways to better the community for individuals who are figuring out which sex and gender they identify with.

This panel touched upon fraternities and how they are teaming up with P.R.I.S.M. and the Sex and Gender Equality Center to end stereotypes on campus.

Lauren Todd, a graduate intern at the S.A.G.E. center said she is optimistic about the changes being made.

“Looking back at the past 10 years alone, you can see how marriage equality has progressed to the majority of States and you can see an overall acceptance of the LGBTQ community” said Todd.

The next panel discussion was on why SCSU is going tobacco free and it included police Chief Joe Dooley, who is also the chair of the Health and Safety Committee.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “From 1964 to 2014, the proportion of adult smokers declined from 42 percent to 18 percent.”

Dooley explained the SCSU Health and Safety Committee just wants to promote an overall healthy lifestyle throughout campus and if 1400 colleges have already gone down the tobacco free road, Southern can do it too.

A member of the audience asked over “Yik Yak” what the consequence would be for smoking next year and he said it is not going to be about fining people, it is about changing culture.

Freshman Jimmy Delia said it was interesting to see cops come in and talk to the community instead of coming in and getting somebody in trouble.

“I have been to a lot of programs,” said Delia, “and it was really cool to see police officers answer questions about certain incidents that have happened on campus in the past.”



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