March 9, 2017
The Catholic University of America celebrated Healthy Relationship Awareness Month in February. The student group PEERS (Peer Educators Empowering Respectful Students) hosted events that included a talk by David Coleman, a relationship consultant known as the Dating Doctor who offered tips on healthy relationships.
PEERS also ran a poster campaign, staffed a table at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, and supported the Office of Campus Ministry and the Center for Cultural Engagement in other events.
Senior Annie Rubino, a psychology major from Kimberton, Pa., said that giving students building blocks for healthy relationships is a proactive approach to dating.
The University had originally dedicated February to Dating Violence Awareness Month. But, Stephanie Davey, assistant dean of students, noted, “This year we wanted to shift the dialogue. It can be hard to talk about the the red flags and signs of unhealthy relationships and, while those are really important subjects, I think it's just as important for our students to identify the positive aspects of relationships.”
Coleman’s keynote address was one of the best-attended events of the program with an audience of 150 students. Davey said that Coleman gave students “tips on how to tell if someone is interested in you, how to make eye contact in a way that shows that you’re interested in them, how to get out of the friend zone. David highlighted the positives aspects of what it means to be in a healthy virtuous relationship.”
Other events included talks about dating on campus and healthy communication in relationships, facilitated by the Counseling Center and the Center for Cultural Engagement. Campus Ministry hosted the Dating Game, which was designed to introduce students to one another and to explore the dating culture at Catholic University.
“These are conversations that students are craving, because these real-life lessons will carry through after graduation,” said Davey. “Last month focused on learning about yourself, and how you envision a relationship.”