By ELAINA MERCATORIS
Sue Plunkett, director of the Winslow Health Center, is working with Family Planning Services to provide extra reproductive health services on campus for two afternoons a month.
“We’re in negotiations, but things are on hold right now,” said Plunkett.
If contracted, the nurse practitioner from Family Planning will offer STI testing, Pap smear exams and birth control options by appointment one afternoon every other week in the Winslow Health Center.
Since the beginning of this academic year, the arrival of a Family Planning employee has been postponed three times.
“It’s a big step forward if it ever happens,” said Gena Frank, ’13, president of ReproCo.
A group of students initially approached Plunkett in the fall of 2010 about a lack of reproductive health services on campus. This group called themselves ReproCo and officially became a campus organization in October 2011.
Frank said a change in the campus attitude on reproductive health is necessary.
“From talking to others, it seems people didn’t feel comfortable to even go into the health center to buy condoms, people didn’t feel comfortable going to the health center to talk about reproductive health issues.”
Until ReproCo approached her, Jacquie Kondrot, associate dean of students for wellness education, wasn’t aware that there was a great need for information and services on campus.
“I hadn’t understood how difficult it was to get information,” Kondrot said. “I didn’t realize how many barriers there were for students.”
Many of the schools in Allegheny’s comparison group, such as Kenyon and Wooster, offer these family planning services on campus, Frank said.
ReproCo made headway last April when Plunkett announced the Health Center would offer emergency contraception.
“I’m hoping that reproductive health care will be more accessible to members of the community, and they will know what they can get there, and for what they can’t, know where they can get those services,” Kondrot said.
Allegheny contracted Family Planning on campus in the 90s, but left because their services were not being utilized by students.
Frank vowed ReproCo will encourage students to be open about the expression of sexual health on campus.
“We’re going to publicize the shit out of this so that everyone knows and everyone goes,” Frank said.