Students Create “The Space” Supporting Sex Education

Isabella Balian, Staff Writer

The start of a new semester brings a wave of new student organizations coming to campus with unlimited opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Specifically, one of the first student organizations openly supporting sex education and bettering sexual health calls itself “The Space.” The students within The Space pride themselves on creating a safe space for students to discuss reproductive and sexual health, in addition to providing resources for students of all backgrounds and identities to foster discussion and share experiences. 

The executive board of students formally established its mission statement as follows: “Our purpose is to create opportunities and spaces on campus for meaningful conversations on topics related to reproductive issues to raise awareness and allow varying opinions to be explored in a respectful, caring manner. The goal of The Space is to be a facilitator through which students and community members can engage in open and respectful dialogue inclusive of all viewpoints. Such a space will always be guided by Villanova’s own Mission Statement that calls our community to ‘mutual love and respect’ in all aspects of university life.”

“The Space, to me, is a safe space on campus where individuals can come to talk about the topics everyone else is too scared to talk about,” co-President Sharielle Rodriguez said. “It is a place where we can spread knowledge in an equal and equitable way. It is a place where we help people learn and understand the issues affecting all people regardless of orientation or life circumstances. In The Space we provide resources and safety.”

The executive board jump started their introduction to campus with two events this week. On Thursday, two students from the executive board, Rodriguez and VP of Development, Isabella Balian presented their initiative to a Peace and Justice Class: Sustainable Solutions to Poverty. Students from The Space were asked by Professor Stephanie Sena to present their mission to the class, aiming to guide them on how to design a campaign around implementing a policy change that would be beneficial to society. Professor Sena explained that the class is based around ideals of social change and teaches students how to make meaningful change in society within the lens of peace and justice. 

When visiting this class, Rodriguez and Balian presented their mission, history and what the future of The Space may look like. The students from The Space explained that their organization is a formal re-branding of one of Villanova’s previous feminist organizations, “feminova,” aiming to make their organization more intersectional and inclusive of all identities. Rodriguez presented future events and initiatives that The Space is looking forward to hosting. These include handing out and providing resources, hosting events geared toward sex education, facilitating student discussions about how daily news is impacting Villanova students and collaborating with other organizations. Students on the executive board of The Space recognize many Villanova students who feel uncomfortable talking about their sexuality, bodies and sexual health. With the establishment of their organization, they hope to bring more Villanovans a safe space to connect and share their experiences. 

Later on, Thursday, The Space collaborated with Villanova’s POWER to host, “Ask a Sex-Pert.” A certified sexual educator, Dr. Mark Levand, discussed aspects of sexual health and safe sex for students to have a safe space to learn. “I think we all have gaps and holes in our sex-education, and as Levand himself said, it is important to have information and access in order to make safe, informed and independent decisions,” co-President Molly Carreiro said. 

The students also mentioned some future events and initiatives that they are looking forward to hosting such as handing out and providing resources, hosting events geared toward sex education, facilitating student discussions about how daily news is impacting Villanova students and collaborating with other organizations. The Space has formally established themselves on campus as a safe space for students and continuously expresses their excitement to continue on campus. “I’m excited for The Space to engage the Villanova community through dialogue and education so that we can break silences that have persisted for too long,” Carreiro said.