Michelle Zhang

Photo Credit: Gabby Lanza | Daily Texan Staff

ACL Day 3: though it lacked the memorable moments of Day 1’s performance of “The Story of OJ” from Jay-Z and Day 2’s impromptu Longhorns watching party it was still a wonderful time in the blazing hot sun.

The temperature, which got all the way up into the mid-90s, led to widespread annoyance among attendees. Music fans across Zilker Park kept to the shadows, with massive, packed crowds in the small blocks of shade underneath trees and behind sound booths.

The music brought the people out of the shadows, as Caitlyn Smith delivered wonderful covers of classic country music and DRAM rolled up that Broccoli on the Honda stage (and a mysterious haze rose from the crowd during the performance).

Day 3’s first dominant performance came from Run the Jewels, a rap duo of two guys that look like James Corden and Rick Ross. They meld impressively, delivering powerhouse rap music that had the crowd bumping during the hottest part of the day. Their standout moment came from the song “Legend Has It,” which gained notoriety when used in Marvel’s “Black Panther” trailer.

The day’s end came with a difficult choice: The Killers and Gorillaz. It was a tough choice between two legendary rock groups, but luckily their setlists lined up well enough for attendees to hop between the two. The Killers opened with an emotional Tom Petty tribute, which led right into their biggest hit, “Mr. Brightside,” and Gorillaz closed out with their biggest hit, “Feel Good Inc,” only a half hour later. At the end of it, Day 3 was a wonderful time for rock fans, but hip-hop fans were left wanting after the first two brilliant days.

Photo Credit: Carlo Nasisse and Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

When radio-televisionfilm sophomore Holly Cook first came to UT, she had never taken a formal health or sex education course. Cook, who attended Clear Lake High School in Houston, learned what she knew about sex from her father, who is a biology teacher, and from friends and the Internet.

Cook’s story is not unique. Many Texas high schools do not offer any sex education whatsoever. Most high schools that do offer sex education focus heavily on abstinence. Across the board, UT freshmen arrive on campus with wildly varying sex education experiences.

“The breadth and depth of how sex ed is taught is really determined locally, so you can have quite a difference in approach within one county,” Texas Education Agency spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe said. “In one community they may only talk about abstinence, and in the other ones, they may have lengthy discussions about all the different types of contraception. ...It can impact [students] pretty dramatically.”

Five years ago, Texas stopped requiring that high school curriculums include health class, in which sex education was usually taught. When sex education is offered, the state’s guideline is that the curriculum must “present abstinence as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried persons of school age” and “devote more attention to abstinence than to any other behavior.”

Beyond that, sex education is up to the discretion of each individual district, Ratcliffe said. The result is a state-wide patchwork of sex education levels. In summer and fall 2014, the University enrolled 6551 first-year students from a combined 908 feeder schools.

Santiago Sanchez, Plan II and biochemistry sophomore, attended Seven Lakes High School in Katy, where a health course was required. Sanchez said the course emphasized abstinence above all else.

“I do not consider my sex education to be have been ‘good’ or useful,” Sanchez said. “How to properly put on and store a condom – the latter was not covered at all, if I remember correctly. Consent is another critical component of sex education that was, at least, conspicuously absent from my school’s curriculum.”

Michelle Zhang, Plan II and business honors freshman, took sex education as part of an optional health course her sophomore year at Westwood High School in Austin. She said she does not recall learning safe-sex or contraceptive methods.

“I just remember it being really weird for everyone, and I remember, ‘these are different STDs, and here are the symptoms for them,’” Zhang said. “It made me pretty scared about STDs, so they accomplished one thing.”

Although he took an online health class while at Highland Park High School, Thomas Mylott, Plan II and American studies junior, said the majority of what he learned about sexual behavior came from his parents, on the Internet and a middle school program promoting abstinence.

“My parents instilled in me a good sense of being responsible,” Mylott said.

Susan Tortolero, a public health professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health who researches sex education in Texas, said she has found even the best courses are only so effective on students and, ultimately, parents have the most influence on sex education. The type of sex education taught is not as important as the effectiveness of the curriculum.

“It really only matters if the curriculum is effective in making behavior changes,” Tortolero said. “There have been some abstinence-only programs that have been shown to be effective in changing behavior.”

Last month, the Texas House approved a budget amendment that would move $3 million from the state HIV and STD Awareness fund to further fund abstinence education.

The amendment will not take effect unless it is included in the final state budget jointly determined by the Senate and the House.

UT does not require that students take health classes — or any classes — that address sexual education. The extent to which sexual issues are covered for all incoming students is at freshman orientation, when orientation advisers act in a play called “Get Sexy, Get Consent.”

Still, Zhang said, she feels she figured out what she needed to know eventually.

“I feel like most of the dialogue surrounding sex doesn’t come from class — it comes from the people around you and living life,” Zhang said. “Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with who you hang out with — and with the personal experiences everyone has.”

Cassady Allen, pre-physical and health promotion senior, sorts through clothing at the thrift shop that was held at West Mall on Friday. The thrift shop was put on by GlobeMed, an organization that promotes the sustainability of people living in El Salvador.
Photo Credit: Claire Schaper | Daily Texan Staff

Tables covered with piles of used clothes lined the West Mall on Friday to raise funds for a sustainability project in Guarjila, El Salvador.

GlobeMed, an organization that started on campus in 2010, partnered with a clinic in Guarjila, Clinica Ana Manganaro, to improve the health of people living in El Salvador. 

According to Michelle Zhang, Plan II sophomore and campaigns committee member for GlobeMed, Clinica Ana Manganaro notifies GlobeMed about the health project initiative for the year, and GlobeMed creates events to raise money and collect donations.

“The emaphsis for GlobeMed is to promote partnership and equity and sustainability,” Zhang said. “We are trying to empower the people in Guarjila to let them be more aware of their own needs instead of us going in and just prescribing what to do. The campaigns committee comes up with the ideas for the fundraising, but then everybody in the [organization] helps toward achieving the monetary goal.”

During the thrift shop event, Cassady Allen, pre-physical and health promotion junior, said she chose to buy some of the organization’s used clothes because she connected with the cause.

“With people overseas, I always want to help out whenever I can,” Allen said. “Plus, I bought two blouses for $5 total.”

Spanish junior Nickki Rees, director of fund-raising for GlobeMed, said the organization has only raised $500, but she expects to collect most of their funds during their bigger events in the spring. 

“We have a benefit concert, which we usually raise over $2,000 with that,” Rees said. “We’re having an event where we invite other UT organizations to come and showcase themselves; it’ll be a like a talent show. We also have ‘Kayak for a Cause’ from Oct. 20-26. If you go to ‘Live Love Paddle’ and say you’re with GlobeMed, we get 50 percent of the profits.”

According to Ibis Rojas, biology junior and the co-campaigns coordinator, a group of UT students have summer internships with Clinica Ana Manganaro. The students will work at the clinic, assess the effectiveness of their current project and discuss future projects.

She said she believes GlobeMed provides experiences unlike those of other organizations.

“Our partner benefits from us in the money we give them, but we benefit from them by learning the different culture, people and ways of another country,” Rojas said, “GlobeMed is different in that we handpick our members, and we like to call ourselves a family.”