Wellness at Penn and Penn Violence Prevention recently held a Valentine’s Day Event to discuss romance, love, and nontraditional elements of relationships.
The event, “Love in the First-Year Experience: Valentine’s, Pal-entine’s, Galantine’s and Yourself-tine’s," was held at Hill College House on Feb. 8. The event focused on elements of relationships including health, consent, and sex education, as well as traditional Valentine’s Day-related themes.
Lauren Cordova, a health educator at Wellness at Penn and one of the organizers of the event, said the program was intended to reach beyond students who were interested in romance.
“First-year students in the college houses not only wanted to talk about relationships, but were also interested in talking about more than just romantic relationships and sex,” Cordova said. “That's important for some people, but doesn't necessarily resonate for all our students.”
The event comprised several interactive activities, including a spectrum for students to judge the healthiness of famous fictional relationships, a matching game for students to explain what activities they associated with different types of partners, and a poster board for students to reflect on their relationships with themselves.
Cordova said the games, and particularly the poster board, were a method of encouraging students to reflect and think in order to treat themselves to a personal Valentine’s Day. She said she hopes to spread the message that Valentine’s Day is not solely for romantic pairings.
The event also emphasized violence prevention and safety in events. Ebonish Lamar, the House Director of Fisher Hassenfeld, said that PVP was a partner in the event.
“PVP does some amazing educational work around a variety of topics [by] focus[ing] on toxic relationships, things that students do not want to talk about, or things that unfortunately may happen to them,” Lamar said. “We thought that they would be great partners to work with us to have these conversations.”
Many students came to the event and engaged in the activities. Before leaving, students were given the chance to grab some churros and refreshments.
Wharton and Engineering first year Teena Bhatia said she enjoyed the event.
“I think that the event was extremely beneficial to reintroduce some of these basic concepts in relationships, and a good opportunity to remind myself of the importance of safety and self-love,” Bhatia said.