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Impact: 'The Good, the Bad, and the Necessary' of sexual education

Nominee Ben Feringa Impact Award 2023 | Category student
15 May 2023

In the coming weeks the nominees for the Ben Feringa Impact Award (BFIA) 2023 will introduce themselves and their impactful research or project. This week in the category student: The student team behind the Sexual Wellness Education Initiative (SWEI)

Who are you?

We are the Sexual Wellness Education Initiative (SWEI): a 10-person team spearheading the issue of social safety, transgressive behaviour, and students' mental health by providing sexual education to university students.

Which faculty are you from?

SWEI is based at University College Groningen (UCG).

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Sexual Wellness Education Initiative members

Could you explain what your initiative is about?

The Sexual Wellness Education Initiative (SWEI) is an organization that provides a year-round, holistic sexual education curriculum to university students. With workshops, talks, and interactive conversations, our goal is that through education we will be able to combat transgressive behaviour, improve student health, and protect student wellbeing. We are doing this by bridging the gap between experts in the field and students, to fill the current knowledge gap. The Sexual Wellness Education Initiative is a dynamic organization by and for students that continuously improves and enhances the sexual education programme provided. Therefore, we are working hard to contribute this essential piece to the puzzle of student health and wellbeing.

SWEI covers ‘the Good, the Bad, and the Necessary’ of sexual education in its curriculum. The ‘Necessary’ contains workshops on consent, LGBTQ+ topics, STIs, and sexual health. The ‘Bad’ involves workshops on catcalling, sexual assault, and harassment. Lastly, the ‘Good’ includes talks on pleasure, porn, and BDSM. On top of this, SWEI organizes parties throughout the year to provide a fun, safe, and comfortable environment for participants. With a trained awareness team and a space where everyone can be themselves, SWEI hopes to show how party culture can change to accommodate an enjoyable night for all students.

What made the research impactful and how does society benefit from your research?

At the start and end of every year, SWEI conducts research by sending out a Faculty-wide questionnaire to test the level of knowledge before and after the sexual education provided during the academic year. Also, feelings on social safety, numbers on transgressive behaviour, mental health measurements, and more are asked of all students at the UCG. This provides an accurate picture of the current and improved state of the student body with SWEI present at the Faculty.

What was your personal motivation to conduct this research and what did you learn?

Everyone in the team has their personal reasons for being part of the initiative; however, the common goal of combatting transgressive behaviour, bettering students' mental health, and working towards closing the knowledge gap is shared amongst all of us. The birth of SWEI followed from four students sharing their concerns for the social safety of all students living in the shared housing provided in the first year at the UCG during the Covid-19 pandemic. From this, a proposal grew to become the Sexual Wellness Education Initiative, which is now an established part of the education provided at the UCG.

Overview nominees Ben Feringa Impact Award 2023

Last modified:25 May 2023 3.20 p.m.
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