Helping Mississippi College Students Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy and STIs
After nearly a decade of working with colleges to help their students prevent unplanned pregnancy, we've heard many myths. And not just from students—from whom there have been many—but also from college faculty and staff. One of the most common myths is that college students are grown-ups, and surely they have received sex education and the information they need about sex and birth control, before arriving at college. This is, however, far from the truth.
As the students in the video mention, they still have a lot to learn. Some of them attended middle and high schools that didn’t cover sex education at all. One student stated that he was home schooled and that the topic of sexual health was avoided all together. Regardless of what type of information they’ve already received, the vast majority of students admit they need more. Providing young people with valuable information about sexual health—including unplanned pregnancy and STI prevention—when they get to college is certainly not too late, and college students are grateful to have finally received this education.
Many colleges can do so much more to help their students succeed and help them realize they have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to start or expand their family. And Mississippi has been leading the way! In this case study, we highlight what four colleges in Mississippi have done to expand and improve connections to healthcare services in the community, so students know exactly where to go to obtain birth control and other sexual health services. Through Power to Decide’s Campus Sexual Health Program, these four colleges were able to identify and pursue best practices that help promote sexual health and preventing unplanned pregnancy across the campus. In addition, the colleges used free online lessons developed by Power to Decide, to provide education about how to take action to prevent unplanned pregnancy and make sure they protect their future and educational success.
Unfortunately, the colleges in Mississippi will no longer receive dedicated funding from the state to address this topic. While this comes as a disappointment and puts continued progress at risk, several of the colleges have identified a few low- and no-cost solutions that will help some of this work to continue.
It has been a pleasure to work with colleges in Mississippi, even more so after hearing how much it has meant to their students. Power to Decide’s work with Mississippi colleges wouldn’t have been possible without generous funding from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi.