California Higher Education Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Conference

Awards & Recognition

Student Club/Organization Award


Students Talking About Relationship and Sex (STARS)
Cal State San Marcos

Peer Health University Network

The Students Talking About Relationship and Sex (STARS) is a peer education prevention program at Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) that utilizes interactive theater to initiate dialogue through improvisational theater to transform individual behaviors and create positive social change. STARS was developed to educate and create change in campus culture on how students view about alcohol and sexual assault, relationship abuse and bystander intervention, and empowers students to become advocates for a safe, healthy, and inclusive CSUSM community. STARS create positive social change at CSUSM by:

  • Creating a community based on the values of respect, compassion, and inclusiveness
  • Giving peers the tools to be positive, active bystanders
  • Reducing passive acceptance of a spectrum of abusive behaviors

Promoting healthy sexuality and relationships STARS has presented to over 2,500 students including 1st year students, Greeks, Student Athletes, and student organizations. STARS also presented at the BACCHUS Area 2 conference as the Keynote speaker in 2013. STARS presentations allows students a safe space to discuss intimate partner violence issues including sex under the influence, to share stories and/or to ask for resources in a safe environment. Students’ feedback after the STARS presentation included:

  • Drinking doesn’t lead to abuse
  • Intoxication means no consent
  • I learned that you need to look out for your friends and do not trust people that you don’t know while being drunk
  • It was entertaining, informative, engaging
  • The scene I thought it demonstrated that happens frequently
  • It was an eye opening experience
  • The peer educators were very believable

STARS creates awareness and advocacy on this important issue and has been very active on campus working with others to continue to bring this topic to the forefront and educating students about knowing their Title IX rights. STARS can be seen tabling at various events on campus including the Health Expo, Take Back the Night, Safer Spring Break, V-Day and Vagina Monologues – making contact with thousands of students at these events.

Overall, STARS has made a tremendous impact at CSUSM! They have increased students’ knowledge about consent with their “consent is Sexy video” which has been seen by over 10,000 students at orientation and has been adopted by several other universities. They also have increased students’ knowledge of respectful communication, healthy relationship, and how to be an active bystander.

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