Over the past few weeks, members of Lambda Theta Alpha placed paper hearts containing messages to Lehigh students, as well as pictures of people holding those hearts, around campus.
“They get annoyed by your affection. #thatsnotlove.”
“Does your partner have frequent mood swings, lose control or have violent outbursts? #thatsnotlove.”
Through this campaign, Lambda Theta Alpha’s aims to inform students and faculty about what characterizes a healthy relationship, and to get people thinking about whether they or someone they know is involved in an unhealthy relationship.
The chapter is sponsoring the “Twist on the Red Flag” campaign, which promotes healthy relationships and raises awareness about domestic violence. Gaby Montes, ’20, the vice president and secretary of Lambda Theta Alpha, said her chapter is passionate about the campaign because its philanthropy is sexual violence awareness.
“When we heard that February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we really wanted to do something to raise awareness about such an important issue that affects both our campus and many others across the country,” Montes said.
The paper hearts were placed in busy areas on campus, like Fairchild-Martindale and Linderman libraries, the University Center and the STEPS building, in an effort to ensure the message spread to as many people as possible.
In addition to distributing the hearts, the group also held a discussion about cultivating healthy relationships in the UC on Wednesday night. The event was facilitated by Rikki Glantz, a volunteer for Women Organized Against Rape, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that seeks to eliminate sexual violence through specialized treatment services, prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of survivors of sexual assault.
Glantz spoke to the group about the characteristics of a healthy relationship, as well as the importance of communication and respect. She also introduced the Dating Bill of Rights, a set of ideas about what each partner is entitled to in a healthy relationship, such as being safe, getting angry and trusting oneself.
Morgan Handwerker, ’19, a member of Break the Silence, also commented on the prevalence of dating violence on college campuses.
Handwerker said 21 percent of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner and 32 percent have experienced dating violence by a previous partner.
“I think it’s really nice that this is coming from an organization other than BTS,” Handwerker said, “because by having another organization promote such an important problem like this, it shows a unity among the Lehigh community that we are all coming together to put an end to such a prominent issue.”
The event ended with a Q&A session with Glantz, which allowed students to open up and ask for advice on their own relationships.
“It was really nice to be able to ask questions in such a safe environment with a professional and to finally get honest answers from an unbiased perspective on serious issues that close friends of mine have experienced,” Jillian Wolfson, ’21, said. “I learned so much valuable information that will help me to make more well informed decisions on these kind of things in the future.”