Hello, my name is Emma Patterson! I am a senior Art History major at Whitman, and this year I am working as the Community Outreach Intern for Planned Parenthood in Walla Walla, a major part of which is serving as the co-president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Whitman. Through my internship, I have had the opportunity collaboratively organize some really cool events on campus with my team of student volunteers. So far we have held several club meetings, tabled and registered voters in high-traffic areas on campus, gone to community meetings, and even been interviewed for the Union Bulletin (the local paper) for our involvement in the Women’s March!
My favorite event that we have organized so far this semester was our aValentine’s day “Glove Affair” dance. The week of Valentine’s just so happens to be national condom week, so we thought that a really fun celebration of love, friendship, and safe sex would be an on-brand way to celebrate. The Thursday before Valentine’s day we hosted an educational seminar for students to come and learn all about different contraception methods. Sex education is absolutely one of my favorite things that I have done as a part of my role in Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Whitman, because in college almost everyone has dramatically different levels of knowledge on sexual health, depending on how their high school teaches sex ed. When we host educational events like these sometimes people will tell me that they never really knew what a uterus was before, and it is so rewarding to be able to provide folks with such important knowledge.
This event was specifically themed after contraception and birth control, so we walked through all of the different methods of contraception that people can use, which ones you can double up on, and how each functions. Those who attended the educational event got a pass to show up early to the party that we put together on Valentine’s evening. We also partnered up with one of the sororities on campus, Kappa Kappa Gamma, who helped us to decorate our venue with condom garlands, dental dam murals, and a GIANT heart made out of flavored condoms. We also got a DJ who played music by female artists all night long, and encouraged everyone who attended to donate to Planned Parenthood through the donation box which we set out. Overall, the event was a really fun way to encourage safe sex and educate folks about contraception, as well as to dance and raise a bit of money for Planned Parenthood. I am so excited for some of the ideas the club is working on for later in this year, and I can’t wait to keep putting together events which work to destigmatize sexual health at Whitman and fight for access to high-quality healthcare for all.
Experiences like Emma’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez