Strathclyde SHAG Week


By Jennifer Constable, Web Editor


Every February, the Strathclyde Campus succumbs to a heady, pheromone rich haze, fuelled by cheap, heart shape chocolates and the palpable pent-up sexual frustration that comes with the beginning of a new semester and the omnipresence of deadlines looming in the distance. It’s the time of year when condom sales hit their yearly peak, Ann Summers starts advertising their new risqué lingerie and BDSM ranges, and you find yourself spending more time swiping through tinder than focussing on your upcoming assignments. Yes, it appears that Valentine’s Day is almost once upon us again; a day of celebrating love, romance and, by extension, sex.

We’re students, of course we’re sexually active; our sexual appetite rivalling that of any other age group, and Valentine’s Day can be an excuse for us to indulge the passionate side of our persona; from treating yourself to a new pair of silky suspenders (or vibrator), to booking a “romantic” weekend away with your beloved; it’s what St Valentine would have wanted, I’m sure. However, despite our enthusiasm for all things illicit, students, as a whole, still remain woefully misinformed and painfully naïve about the do’s and don’ts of sexual health and etiquette. For that reason, the Strathclyde University Student Union has organised a SHAG week to take place from Monday the 8th to Friday the 12th of February- right before the weekend of Valentine’s Day itself.

Contrary to what the name suggests, SHAG week isn’t a massive orgy in the union- I did check- and actually stands for “sexual health awareness and guidance.” Devised, by Kyle Henry, VPVD (Vice President, Volunteering and Development), and Mikey O’Donnell, VPE (Vice President, Education), the event is the second one of its type that the Union has hosted; tailored to educate Strathy students on the importance of protection, respect, and general sex-know-how, before we embark on our own sexual misdemeanours.

The week kicks off on Monday, with a film night in the Union, organised by Strathclyde’s LGBT society. Starting around 6pm in the Lounge, the Society will be showing the modern classic, ‘Rent’ to attendees of the evening- for those of you unfamiliar with the musical, set in the early 1990’s, ‘Rent’ is a tale that follows the lives of a group of young people as they struggle with drugs, sexuality, and the ever present threats of AIDS, whist trying to pay the rent. The event promises a relaxed night of good chat, excellent songs, and a sufficient amount of cinematic, emotional drama.

On the Tuesday night, the Student Parliament will meet to discuss the controversy surrounding the condom posters situated about campus after allegations that the Union should not be seen to be promoting sex- however, is it not the job of the Students Union to support its student in whichever ways possible? What do you think? Come and watch the discussions unfold. Throughout the course of the week you also have the chance to enter into a special SHAG Week quiz to test the dark depths of your sex smarts, the winner of which wins a brilliant SHAG Week related prize (I’ll leave it up to you to speculate what this could be…).

On Wednesday, the LGBT society makes an appearance again, with a stall in the Union foyer on sexual orientation; a complex and delicate issue often overlooked in discussions about sex. Also on the Wednesday, at 2pm, Emily Beever, the NUS Scotland Women’s Officer is visiting the Union to lead a series of consent workshops- talking about what consent actually is, and shining a light on a vital component in any sexual relationship- stressing the right of any individual to say “no”.

Sex isn’t something we should be shy or ashamed of, and SHAG week gives us the chance to explore it in a way that makes us more respectful and sex-savvy students. If you’re about University on the week of the 8th, keep an eye out about the Union for the SHAG week, and the events it hosts; who knows, you may learn something new, or at the very least, get the chance to have a massive sing-a-long to your favourite ‘Rent’ tunes.} else {