Tackling healthy sexual development in university students living on campus

It’s been a few years in the waiting, but Louise Hallo, Director of Wellbeing at Emmanuel College who received a Churchill Fellowship back in 2019, has finally been able to complete her three week study tour, learning from programs in the USA about sexual development and preventative health measures for young people in a University environment.

The Churchill Trust provides an opportunity for talented Australian citizens to travel overseas to investigate inspiring practices that will benefit Australian communities. These Fellowships are delivered by the Churchill Trust in memory of Sir Winston Churchill, providing an opportunity for Australians to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia.

Louise’s Fellowship allowed her to visit and make connections with a range of world-class, Ivy League Universities including Harvard, Yale and Columbia. With 15 years of experience specialising in adolescent and young adult health and wellbeing in not-for-profit and hospital settings in Australia and the UK, her particular area of interest is in the tertiary education space in the development of student wellbeing through education, prevention and support programs. Emmanuel College has focussed strongly on this in recent years, developing a Wellbeing Strategy which illustrates their commitment to supporting residents in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours across all aspects of their life.

“We have a unique opportunity in the College environment to strengthen the development of our students sense of self and encourage them to explore and understand their own wellbeing. I hope the work being done by the teams in the USA, and what they are offering the students, will deepen our ability to support our students, specifically with their sexual wellbeing to complement the other work we do in this space,” Louise said.

On her return, Louise will share her learnings with Emmanuel College, and her networks across the university residential living sector, further ensuring that Australia will be equipped to support young people living on campus at University, engage in sexual relationships in a healthy and safe way.

“To receive a Churchill Fellowship is an incredible honour and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to develop international connections and to improve my knowledge and bring it back to Australia to support our young people,” Louise said.

What Louise’s study is about

How to support young people engage in sexual relationships in a healthy and safe way.

The goal of this trip is to learn from the programs in the USA and develop a program to offer young people living on campus in Australia that incorporates:

  • positive sexual identity development to destigmatise and encourage conversation about sex and sexuality
  • how to combat sexual violence and misconduct
  • how to be an active ethical bystander and how to deescalate sexual situations – a tool box of skills
  • educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships and what healthy behaviours look like
  • support and reporting options specific to young people living on campus.