On Thursday September 1, the third Pizza and Pleasure lecture of the semester broached the topic of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Katherine Hewitt, wellness coordinator for Counseling Services, held an interactive seminar on determining good relationship health and identifying warning signs of toxic relationships. The event was held in the Woodlawn Room in Coates University Center and was open to all students.
“I think in terms of this particular age group, you grow so much from the time that you arrive on campus to the time that you graduate. Students are just learning more about themselves and what they can accomplish and what they can make their own identity, and part of that is being able to incorporate the relationship piece,” Hewitt said.
During their time in college, students may decide that they wish to stay single or that they will engage in romantic relationships. Hewitt points out that, regardless of what that decision is, a lot of underlying themes remain the same.
“You still want to be respected, you still want to have trust in yourself and your partner, you still want to be honest with that person when you find the right connection, and you still, if appropriate, need to set up boundaries for yourself. All of those things are relevant in terms of how your semester can play out, how your year or even your whole four-year experience can play out,” Hewitt said.
The Pizza and Pleasure lecture series was initiated by Richard Reams, associate director of Counseling Services. Reams began this effort upon noticing that Trinity, unlike many other colleges, does not offer a course on sexuality.
“I thought having a series on sexuality would fill the gap a little bit. I think relationships and love and sex is something on the minds of most Trinity students in the range of seventeen to twenty two years [of age]. [It is important] to be prepared and to reflect on how your experiences have been so far,” Reams said.
“I think this is a really important topic for students to engage with someone who is knowledgeable about health and wellness on campus. We can learn a lot about how we should be thinking about relationships, not only with each other, but also other things like our relationship to our body and our health and our minds, like, are we doing the right things we need to stay healthy. […] And what things you need to think about in terms of being on a college campus and what that looks like,” said senior Hayley Sayrs, president of the TU Fit health club.
Despite the importance of the topics discussed in the Pizza and Pleasure lectures, there is a certain stigma among students about attending the events. Many students are reluctant to take part in the lectures for fear of being negatively judged by their peers. Reams believes that such stigma should not exist.
“For the vast majority of students, probably at least ninety five percent, relationships, love and sex is a natural thing to be concerned about, to desire at some point in your life. So, what is the stigma when you share it with ninety five percent of other people?” Reams said.
“I think everyone can learn more about how to be a better partner, how to be a better person in the community. I think it’s important for all of us to question and think on a regular basis about our relationships and whether they are helping us succeed and be the person we want to be or holding us back from being that person.” Sayrs said.