USU celebrates Healthy Relationship and Sexual Responsibility Week

The Wellness Center, GLBTA office, the Counseling Center and SAAVI (Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information) collaborated to organize Healthy Relationship and Sexual Responsibility Week, which began Feb. 14. Monica Heiner is the SAAVI coordinator at USU. She has a master’s in social work and is a certified social worker. As victim advocate for the university, any student or staff that is a victim of violence are entitled to her services. “I help students and with crisis counseling, problem-solving and connect them to campus and community resources. I also have the opportunity to create and implement educational programs or initiatives to keep sexual health at the forefront of students minds,” she said. This is part of the reason the health departments are making a collaborative effort to help students to have healthier relationships sexually and mentally. Karinne Van Wagoner, a senior in community health education, is an intern at the wellness center. She was in charge of planning the fair. “Something I really want people to gain from this is to realize that everyone is different. To be aware of that, and be patient is crucial when it comes to being in a relationship,” she said. Van Wagoner and Ashlee Cannon, a senior in community health, organized donations from local businesses for the fair, which will be used for prizes that students can win in the raffle. Participants can win gift cards to restaurants and salons, the Anniversary Inn and some dating packages. “We’re trying to get the information out there that there are risks, even at Utah State, and things you can do to prevent suffering from those,” Cannon said. Heiner said it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship when you are in the heat of the situation. “Your brain is in survival mode, so it’s hard to distinguish. I would encourage students to recognize if there are certain topics that they don’t feel like they can bring up in conversation with their partner,” she said. Heiner also said not being able to communicate about certain topics can be a risk, and students should consider whether the consequences of that conflict would be violent or just conversational. Heiner advised students to look at the control in the relationship. “If you’re wondering if your relationship is healthy, ask yourself if you’re allowed to have friends outside of your relationship, and if you can spend time on your hobbies, and with your family,” she said. “If there is major jealousy or manipulation going on, it’s probably not mentally healthy for either party.” Ryan Barfus, prevention specialist at USU, is responsible for preventative education inside classrooms, and deals with judicial problems on campus having to do with drug and alcohol abuse.

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