Relocated out of the Smith Campus Center amidst ongoing construction, the College’s Sexual Health and Relationship Counselors are bringing their condoms and peer counseling resources to campus dining halls.
renovations to the Smith Center—which houses Harvard University Health Services—have forced the group to adapt with new initiatives and outreach in the Houses as they await a new interim location.
Other health resources have also been forced to move around during the construction, which is set to last through summer of 2018, including the temporary relocation of Harvard University Health Services’ after hours urgent care to the Law School’s Pound Hall on nights and weekends.
Despite the potential for inconvenience, SHARC co-Director Jamie S. Tanzer ’17 said going on the road has allowed the group to think about new avenues for engaging with students.
“It’s actually been a great opportunity for us to sort of consider some new ways that we can reach more students on campus and think about education and outreach that we haven’t been doing as much of,” Tanzer said.
SHARC has been holding office hours in dining halls across campus during dinner and brain breaks. Along with dining hall office hours, the organization has piloted other initiatives like hosting a table at a September Club 1636 event in Tasty Burger.
“This is one of the things that we brainstormed when thinking about in this time period when we don’t have a concrete space,” Tanzer said, referring to the dining hall office hours. “What’s a way to make sure that our presence is still felt on campus?”
The past year has been a busy one for HUHS. In total, 26 different units within HUHS have been forced to move since last October, according to HUHS Director Paul J. Barreira, who emphasized the difficulty of operating these medical services during the Smith Center construction.
“So you can just imagine, right, trying to continue to run a medical service [while] simultaneously moving people around,” Barreira said. “And I’m not just talking about a single individual, I’m talking [about] whole units moving different places and back again. So it’s been pretty disruptive.”
At least for SHARC, there will be some measure of permanence amidst all the change, as the organization is currently in the process of finishing the search for a temporary office, and Tanzer is hopeful of finding one in the “next couple of weeks.”
“We are just looking for places that are conveniently accessible to the most people,” she said. “We have a couple of leads that we’re continuing with, but we haven’t completely set what our new location or our new hours will be yet.”
SHARC is still currently staffing QuadTalk, a joint initiative by multiple peer counseling groups to expand mental health resources to the Radcliffe Quadrangle.
— Staff writer Menaka V. Narayanan contributed reporting to this story.
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