P.E.A.C.E. advocates healthy relationships

Jessica GuerrucciReporter

With February being the month of love and a time for people to think about the importance of love in their lives, it is also a good time to talk about healthy relationships.

Peer Educators Advocating for Campus Empowerment held their first fundraiser this semester on Monday, Feb. 11, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. P.E.A.C.E. invited students to buy a bag of candy and make a Valentine for their loved one, at the same time, learn what it means to have a healthy relationship.

With healthy relationships being the focus of the fundraiser, Amanda Valentin, president of P.E.A.C.E and a social work major, said it is just one of many topics they discuss.

“We go into classrooms, we sit at tables and talk about things like healthy relationships, affirmative consent, and by-stander intervention, which is really a big one we focus on,” said Valentin.

Melissa Kissi, who is an adviser for the club and works with the Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy, and Support Center as a university victim advocate, said it’s important to educate students on healthy relationships all year round, not just around Valentine’s Day.

“Our center that I work at, and as well as P.E.A.C.E, the both of us do educate all year round, but I think it sort of gets a little more attention, so we can take advantage of the holiday or at least the month of February,” said Kissi.

Danae Sawchyn, marketing and promotions manager, and English major, said both P.E.A.C.E and V.P.A.S discuss similar topics including sexual misconduct and healthy relationships.

“V.P.A.S has two campus advocates, said Sawchyn. “They’re not students, they’re trained advocates who are there to help people who have survived an abusive relationship or similar situations, whereas P.E.A.C.E is a student organization that wants to promote awareness of sexual misconduct.”

During the fundraiser, David Rivera, a social work major, who is also a part of P.E.A.C.E came by to support the club and said he was going to give the valentine to his mom and will either give the candy bag to his sister or one of his friends.

“I try to support when I can,” said Rivera. “I think they’re really doing a great thing as far as raising awareness on campus and really trying to promote a very sensitive topic that not a lot of people want to talk about.”

With the money gained from the candy bags, Valentin said they hope to be able to collect funds, so the club can hold events in the future.

“We are really just making sure the club will have funds so that they can do things like buy a tablecloth, or buy food for an event, or get equipment that other clubs might have that we may not have the funds for since we are still new and have selective funding,” said Valentin.

At the end of the semester Sawchyn said they will be holding an event called Take Back the Night, which is a rally against domestic violence meant to empower survivors of sexual abuse.

Even though P.E.A.C.E talks about serious topics, Sawchyn said in the future they want to do more fun activities. Valentin said in the past they have done Jeopardy where they had pizza talked about chemistry and 90’s pop music.

“We do love to be educational because that is kind of the core of our club, but we are also really fun people,” said Valentin. “We like to goof around, so we also try and make that apparent in our events and activities too.”

Photo Credit: William Aliou

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