Three teams of IUP students competed in designing condom-based clothing in a fashion runway competition in Suites on Maple East, Feb. 13.
In Room G-60 on Wednesday, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., the Health and Wellness Promotion team hosted one of its many events. This time, it hosted the “condom runway.” Participating students were educated on the different kinds of condoms and the prevention rate of condoms, and then they were tasked with designing clothing out of condoms, trash bags, ribbon, feathers, tape and glue.
The students broke into three teams, two of them using peer educators as models and one team using Ranger the therapy dog, the unofficial mascot of the Health and Wellness Promotion’s therapy dogs, as their model. After finishing their outfits, each model stood up and presented their condom-clothing to the judges.
The idea for “Condom Runway” came from the show “Project Runway,” according to Sara Dillon, assistant director of Health and Wellness Promotion/Ranger’s owner. The event’s goal was to raise awareness of birth control methods, condom usage and safer sex practices in a “fun way.”
The winning team consisted of four students, Elizabeth Adolphson (freshman, biology – ecology/conservation), Jessica Gillespie (freshman, pre-physical therapy), Mary Kate Johnston (freshman, nursing) and Riley Kieffer (freshman, anthropology), along with their model, Ranger.
Despite winning, Adolphson said that the competition was “a little intense” and credits the creativity of the other competitors. It was a “unique” experience, Kieffer said.
It was “a bit uncomfortable for some people,” Gillespie said, “but we had fun doing it together and we learned stuff.”
“This is about creating awareness for birth control methods,” Adolphson said.
The team learned several things about condoms, male and female, through working with them as supplies.
“We mastered which side is which on the male condom,” Adolphson said.
“I learned that female condoms are a thing,” Gillespie said.
The winning team attended the event because they “go to most of the events” Health and Wellness Promotion host at Suites on Maple East, according to Adolphson.
“We thought it would be interesting, and we go to a lot of these events anyway,” Johnston said.
Kaitlyn Kocian (senior, human development and family science), another participant, designed a different outfit than Ranger’s. She worked on an overall design, consisting of a functioning and glitter-bedazzled central pocket.
“I teamed up with a random stranger, and we worked on a little fashion project out of a garbage bag and some condoms,” Kocian said.
Through working on the garbage bag overalls, Kocian realized that “not everything is guaranteed” and sees the risk of tearing the garbage bags as a metaphor for the effectiveness of condoms and the risk of condoms tearing.
Despite how “silly” the final product looked, Kocian said she felt a sense of pride about her condom-creation. It “turned out pretty good.”
Peer educator and model Charles Coleman (sophomore, public health) spent the event being poked and prodded by budding fashion designers as he changed into his condom-and-trash apparel.
“As a model, I’m here to push forward creativity and sexual health education,” Coleman said. “When it comes to the education itself, the event’s mostly about the different condoms, the different shapes and kinds of them, and at the beginning how we talked about how condoms are only 98 percent guaranteed.”
All participants received a color-changing cup, a t-shirt and a bracelet, all branded with the Health and Wellness Promotion logo. The winning team received, in addition to the participation gifts, 10 Pup Bucks as a prize.
Pup Bucks are pseudo-currency that can be earned at “each health and wellness promotion event,” Dillon said, such as the therapy dogs visiting or the Condom Runway, and can be spent on prizes like “a Keurig, fleece blankets, pillows and more.”
On Tuesday, in Room 116 in Northern, students can compete from 7–9 p.m. in a Kahoot trivia night. On Wednesday, Health and Wellness Promotion will co-sponsor a blood drive in the HUB Ohio Room.
On Thursday, the therapy dogs will be visiting for Just Paws in Suites on Maple East in Room G60 from 2–3:30 p.m.