By, Jocelyn Visnov, Web Editor & Asst. Production Editor
Love in the Dark is a lecture series held by The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center where students and faculty are able to openly discuss sensitive topics in a comfortable and confidential manner.
Typically held in a darkened room illuminated by tealight candles, the LWGRC offers a safe space for college students to ask questions and discuss sensitive topics such as sex, relationships and intimacy.
Rachel Cirelli, a co-director of the LWGRC, explains the importance of having a forum such as this one during their time in college.
“College is an interesting time for students,” she said. “They have so much more freedom. This is the place where they’re figuring out what their relationships look like, how they look at love and how they look at themselves.”
One aspect which makes Love in the Dark different from other question-and-answer style events is that attendees are given the opportunity to submit questions that they would like answered by the host prior to the event via a QR code, all while remaining completely anonymous. This allows for individuals to ask questions they may not be comfortable verbalizing during the event, but still have the opportunity to have them answered.
“So I think it’s really important that we provide a space that’s anonymous.” Cirelli said. “We get questions that students might feel embarrassed to ask in front of everybody, but answered by people you look up to or people that you feel you can trust.”
Students were also given the opportunity to write questions on a piece of paper and place them in a jar, or ask questions out loud if they felt comfortable.
Amanda Uhrig, a sophomore education major, wrote about her first experience attending a Love in the Dark event.
“The thing that I enjoyed the most about this event was learning and discussing ‘sensitive’ topics such as sex, race, and relationships.” Uhrig wrote. “I think the LWGRC and events that they host do amazing things by starting the conversation and making it a safe space to ask questions.”
Along with giving students an opportunity to ask touchy questions while maintaining anonymity, the goal of Love in the Dark is to foster a healthy community as MC students navigate their relationships.
“Nobody necessarily teaches students how to have healthy relationships, right?” Cirelli said. “I want people to feel safe to say, this is going on in my relationship, and this is how it makes me feel. I want our students to fully engage in relationships and I want them to be healthy and safe.”
The most recent Love in the Dark lecture was led by sophomore Zoe DeFazio on Monday, February 14th. What better time to discuss relationships than on the day of love?
DeFazio’s opening remarks began with addressing her mostly white audience about how love and relationships differ for her as a person of color. She discussed topics such as interracial relationships and how to go about addressing race-related issues with a partner.
“The purpose of my Love in the Dark was to be able to inform others about the stereotypes that we [Black people] face, and potential solutions to break through the stereotypes,” DeFazio said at the event.
DeFazio led the event in a relaxed manner with a tone that was both confident and conversational. She appeared relaxed and encouraged her audience to participate in the conversation and ask questions.
“A college campus can be an exciting environment to showcase exactly who you are,” DeFazio said. “But for Black individuals, that can be much harder. Today, Black men and women are often faced with intense stereotypes that can limit our ability to even have self-expression.”
“Zoe is an amazing speaker and touched on some very interesting but important points,” Uhrig wrote. “I would 100% attend another Love in the Dark after being to this one!”
Zoe DeFazio is the assistant arts and entertainment editor for The Quadrangle.