Chances are, the average college student has not had the opportunity to attend a presentation at which the speaker has declared his intentions to perform “The Syphilis Song” and teach his audience how to get as much sex as they want.
On Sept. 22. the opportunity for both of those things will present itself to the University of South Dakota. Starting at 7 p.m., advice columnist and author Harlan Cohen will speak for one hour in the Muenster University Center Ballroom in an event he has promised will be life-changing.
“Students should expect to laugh so hard they need to bring a change of underwear, maybe two,” Cohen said. “Some people leave with a date, some people leave more comfortable with the college experience, some people break up, some people leave just having a lot to think about — but everybody leaves with something.”
During his speech, Cohen will be covering an abundance of topics from his book, “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College.” Topics include the best-friend roommate to the naked roommate to the my-boyfriend/girlfriend-practically-lives-here-too roommate, relationships, how to get as much sex as you want and how to avoid it completely, and being able to take risks that guarantee success.
Cohen admits his topics are a bit unconventional.
“Something is guaranteed to make you uncomfortable in the weirdest way,” Cohen said. “I am excited to bring the nakedness to the University of South Dakota.”
Lindsay Sparks, assistant director for student life-transitions, played a role in bringing Cohen to campus. She called him and set up the visit and they decided together that late September would be beneficial for students because they have developed a routine, yet are still adjusting to the transitions of a new school year.
“This is not just a program for freshmen students,” Sparks said. “If you want to laugh and learn how to deal with anything that college throws at you, you should attend this event.”
Sparks said Cohen’s presentation is a conversation starter.
“I like that Harlan gets it,” Sparks said. “I expect that he’ll bring up topics that people are dealing with but haven’t talked about out loud.”
Sophomore Lindsay Veflin said she will be attending Cohen’s speech.
“I had read some of his book,” Veflin said. “I thought it was really informative and that it would interesting to hear his take on how to deal with college life.”
Veflin is a community adviser on second Olson and hopes to bring some of her residents to the event.
“I expect his performance to be very similar to his book; how to live in the dorms, deal with college and to be a good student,” Veflin said.
Cohen said he will speak about the realist aspects of college.
“The problem is, they don’t show the student sobbing hysterically on the brochure,” Cohen said. “Most people don’t know that that’s normal, and I’m here to teach people how to find dates, how to get along with your roommate and how to have a great college experience.”
Reach reporter Kati Stauffer at Kati.Stauffer@usd.edu