By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
“A ring by spring” is often the joke heard on campus each year. Some women take it to heart.
But not this year.
Healthy Relationships Week, presented by Residence Life Education and Housing and the University Counseling Center, introduced students to “The Lord before the Ring,” a play on words both with ACU’s marriage tradition and the movie Lord of the Rings, in Monday’s Chapel. Students can attend Chapel and Chapel forums throughout the week and pick up information at the booths in the Campus Center on Wednesday to learn more about how to develop and grow in relationships.
“It is going to be a week in which there are all kinds of special activities in order to help people develop and grow in their relationships,” said Bob Booth, McDonald Hall residence director and counseling center intern. “What relationship doesn’t need that? It includes friends, family, siblings, married people, brothers and sisters in Christ and people you work with.”
Each year the counseling center works with Residence Life to present students with a week of information regarding relationships and how to deal with difficult situations.
Activities included daily Chapel on Monday and Tuesday in Moody Coliseum, two evening Chapel forums, and an information fair in the Campus Center with booths reinforcing God’s presence in relationships. A marriage retreat for married students will also take place Friday.
On Wednesday the Peer Health and Education Office is providing information on healthy dating and relationship aspects, said Heidi Morris, a therapist at the counseling center and coordinator of the Peer Health Education program.
She said brochures are provided for students who are involved in bad relationships and for those looking for friendship advice, as well as self-tests and information on a variety of other topics.
Those involved in planning the week believe in several reasons to participate in the week’s activities.
“The highlight of the week is dependent on what your need is at that time,” Booth said. “Jeanne Reese’s chapel forum on forgiveness on Thursday is going to be incredibly powerful for someone.
“Somebody that is looking for guidance for what it means to live in a very sexual, secular world, yet be a Christian may be impacted deeply by Monday. It is going to hit different people in different ways.”
This year, the theme was carefully chosen after the planning committee realized they wanted to focus on relationships from a Christian perspective, Booth said.
“We want to focus on Godly models for relationships,” said Steve Rowlands, director of the counseling center. “It is a desire for us to have relationships, so we wanted to provide healthy, hopeful [and] helpful info on relationships.”
Students can participate this week in different ways.
Besides attending Chapel and the two Chapel forums, seven peer health educators are also available through the Peer Health Education program, in case anyone has a question or problem they want to talk about.
“They can come to all of these deals, but they can also interact with them in a way that they will continue to pursue the things they hear in their own personal relationships,” Booth said.
The speakers this year were chosen for “their abilities, their heart and the message they bring,” Rowlands said.
They were also chosen because they fulfill the counseling center’s goal for the week.
“The speakers are based upon people we thought would be relevant [and] engaging, people who could meet students’ needs with information and teaching to help them,” Booth said. “We all have one consistent goal: to meet students’ needs in the area of relationships.”