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Spring Break, Fling Break?

Pan-African Student Resource Center discusses love, sex, and relationships

Hand held together

Rhoda Baer

Hand held together

Alex Montgomery, Contributor

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In the early afternoon of Thursday, March 23, those who were lucky enough to find themselves in the Alhambra room on the third floor of the University Student Union were treated to a frank, open panel discussion of romantic relationships and various practices that might incubate a healthy one in a contemporary environment. The program, entitled “Black Talk: The Real on Black Love, Sex, and Relationships,” was coordinated by Shanique Davis, a Student Assistant Program Coordinator for the Pan-African Student Resource Center.

In a short but informative interview, Davis was able to articulate what prompted her to organize the event and why it was held on the last week before Spring Break.

“We’re young right now, and that’s like, what is on our mind constantly, getting someone else. A relationship, hooking up, talking, whatever you wanna call it, is always on our mind, especially while we’re in college and we’re meeting so many new people all the time and all that…I wanted to do it specifically before Spring Break because a lot of the time, that’s when we’re making our plans to go see someone or hang out with someone the whole week, so I thought it would be a great time to start thinking about what a relationship is, what it looks like, and things like that.”

Davis also moderated the panel, fielding questions from attendees and asking a few of her own. The panel itself was comprised of three women of color: Thea Winkler, a counselor for the Student Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services department (CAPS); Candice Vernado, a coordinator for Student Leadership at the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI); and Ashley Joseph, a Program Coordinator for ASI.

The panel addressed universally prevalent issues like knowing whether or not you’re in a relationship (“If you don’t know, ask!”), where to meet people outside of class (museums, independent music festivals), and being conscious of what you might be looking for in a prospective partner, as well as what that might say about you. Attendees also expressed concerns about topics that not only pertained to their personal lives, but could very well be applied to anyone else’s. Whether it’s putting someone in the “friendzone” or figuring out the right timeframe to establish a legitimate relationship with someone after meeting them, the panelists gave concise, informed counsel that promoted self-awareness and self-care.

Winkler contended in an equally short and informative interview that the apparent burgeoning interest in relationships shared by the majority of young people was “natural.”

“I think a lot of times when conflict comes in is either expectations they may have, (culturally, socially, familial) versus just having the strength and courage to say what they actually want,” said Winkler. “So a lot of the conflict is they may want something in a relationship that they’re not getting, that they’re afraid to ask for because they’ve been told things could go bad, or the person might go away…if somebody goes away because you asked for something that you need, then that tells you that’s not the right person. But we’re afraid of that, we’re afraid of rejection, or the idea of not being with someone.”

Both Winkler and Davis expressed satisfaction with how the event turned out, both in regards to student attendance and sage advice given.

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Spring Break, Fling Break?