New club at Sacramento State spreads sexual awareness

Kathleen Pizzo

Choice USA is a new club at Sacramento State that focuses on reproductive awareness and comprehensive sex education.

Brought to Sac State earlier this year by Mackenzie Buchanan, Choice USA values embracing sexuality as a positive and healthy component of human development and envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies.

After receiving an email from the Women’s Resource Center informing her the nationwide organization was accepting applications for a training conference, Buchanan decided to learn more about the group.

“I had never heard of them before,” said Buchanan, a 21-year-old family studies major. “I just saw on their website that the organization was youth-led and youth-aimed and offered leadership opportunities – so I was in.”

Buchanan was accepted into the conference and soon after gained the support of women’s and family studies major Melissa Davidson. The two then brought the ideas to the Student Organization and Leadership office and became chartered as an official on-campus club in spring 2013.

“It was when I declared my major, I just decided that this was what I wanted to get into,” Davidson said.

Buchanan said the Sac State chapter of Choice USA’s main goal is to promote the reproductive justice movement defining as a human right the ability to make healthy decisions about one’s body, sexuality and reproduction for oneself. It provides resources in the community such as free contraceptives and sexually transmitted disease testing. It promotes sex positivity, according to the Choice USA website.

“We want our students to know what our campus has to offer and what Sacramento has to offer,” Buchanan said

So far this year, the group has recruited several members through tabling in the campus quad. The club has collected more than 100 signatures on a  petition for comprehensive sex education in schools and lobbied in Washington D.C.

During the summer, Buchanan and Davidson traveled to the nation’s capitol in an attempt to lobby for the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which supports funding for comprehensive sex education for adolescents rather than what they said is the  ineffective abstinence program in place today.

“My plan is to get people very aware of the things they can do to be safe and smart about their sex life,” Davidson said. “I want them to be aware of the programs available on campus and the risks of having sex.”

Currently, people ages 15 to 25 make up one-quarter of the sexually active population in the U.S., but contract about half of the 19 million STDs annually.


The 13 to 24 age group accounts for a quarter of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year and the number has been rising since 2007. Choice USA supports the act because of these statistics.


Along with sex education, Choice USA hopes to gain support for AB 154, an assembly bill that will addressthe current shortage of healthcare professionals able to provide early abortion care in California.

“A lot of people have no idea what sexual reproductive justice even means, which is exactly why we are here,” Buchanan said.

The support for reproductive justice is often misconstrued and translated as a form of abortion promotion.

Sujatha Moni, assistant professor of women’s studies at Sac State, is a self-declared advocate for a woman’s right to make her own decisions regarding her reproductive rights.

“When we are supporting pro-choice, it doesn’t mean we are asking women to get abortions,” Moni said. “We are advocating for a woman’s right to have one if she so decides.”

This fall, Sac State Choice USA hopes to continue their Sex Plus Campaign designed to challenge and change sex-negative policies and culture, and the group is looking to grow in number.

“We are looking to be a club of 50 or more people who are into political activism, lobbying and providing education,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan also said one of the southern California chapters is planning on asking a co-sponsor of the bill to hold a press conference in Los Angeles, and the organization’s leadership team in Sacramento is planning something similar together for the northern California chapters.

Also on schedule this year is an evaluation of Sacramento State’s Wellness Center. As recommended by Choice USA national, the Sac State Chapter will rate the Wellness Center to determine if its products, services, and information are available, affordable and relevant to Sac State’s student population.

The goal of the evaluation is to give the Wellness Center a Choice USA seal of approval to make sure that student’s needs are represented in accordance with the national organization’s standards.