The University of Maryland SGA and the University Health Center hosted a booth at the Farmer’s Market Wednesday to raise awareness for birth control resources on campus.
The booth was part of Thx Birth Control Day, which is a nationwide celebration of available birth control resources. The event included opportunities for students to recount their personal experiences with birth control and birth control resources for students to take home.
Jackie Orban, one of the Student Government Association health and wellness committee directors, said the event’s purpose is to help raise awareness for available resources and educate students about contraception.
“We’re teaching people about emergency contraception,” Orban, a senior public policy major, said. “We are also asking people to share with us why they are thankful for birth control.”
The event included a sticky note display, where some students expressed how birth control has allowed them to continue their education without interruption, while others shared that it allows them to regulate other medical conditions, such as menstrual cycles.
Miriam Levitin, the sexual health program’s assistant coordinator at the health center, hoped that Wednesday’s booth would help promote resources available for students at the health center.
The health center provides most methods of contraception and other safe sex supplies for students, Levitin said. The health center also distributes free Plan B at the pharmacy and at outreach events, Levitin added.
Levitin said the health center’s safe sex supplies include condoms, NuvaRings, IUDs and birth control implants.
Levitin highlighted that the health center also offers a free birth control consultation. Many of the products and services are provided for students at the health center, she added.
“We have full gynecology and reproductive sexual health services that students can utilize by billing to their insurance or paying out of pocket,” Levitin said.
Wednesday’s booth also had safe sex supplies for students, such as condoms and Plan B. Students were also given the option to play trivia about contraception for prizes, including keychains
Some organizers, including Meghana Kotraiah, SGA’s executive vice president, also hoped that the event would reduce the stigma around sexual health and birth control on campus.
Kotraiah, a senior government and politics and agricultural and resource economics major, said one of the primary goals of the event was “destigmatizing birth control.”
“There’s a lot of shame or it’s not something that you talk about openly,” Kotraiah said. “Having events like this where it’s so casual… and starting those conversations is really important.”
Kotraiah emphasized these conversations around sexual health are especially important for students from an immigrant background and marginalized students.
“It’s even more stigmatized in some of those communities or depending on what your gender identity is or sexuality,” Kotraiah said. “All those conversations can be difficult, so destigmatizing it is really important.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated that the booth offered IUDs for students. The booth offered demonstrations of IUDs and other contraceptive methods. This story has been updated.