by Victoria Bednarz
The Active Minds club hosted a presentation on types of love and conflict resolution last Thursday just in time for Valentine’s Day. The club, who works in partnership with the Health, Wellness, & Personal Counseling Department at BCC, started the meeting by covering the chapter’s pillars, introducing the E-board, and performing an icebreaker activity.
Members were asked to introduce themselves and share what their favorite stuffed animal was growing up. One member said the teddy bear from Ted the movie and another shared that she didn’t have a favorite, but did sleep with her Nintendo DS under her pillow every night.
The energy continued as members then had to match E-board members to their own favorite stuffed animal. This acted as a great transition into the lesson on love covering eros, philia, storge, philautia, and agape. The E-board explained that philia is the love between two equals. It is what we would consider friendship and is characterized as a virtuous and loyal kind of love.
Co-Vice President Giavanna Paparozzi said that, “Valentine’s Day does not need to be centered around Eros, [which is a romantic attraction]. You can have a family game night, hang out with your friends (even virtually)… or even have a self-love day.” This self-love is known as philautia. Healthy philautia enhances wider capacity to love, while unhealthy self-love is associated with narcissism.
Speaking on how people can use icebreakers to ease day to day conversations into covering topics of love and conflict resolution, Co-President Cassie Guinto said, “I think icebreakers are everywhere even if you don’t directly acknowledge them. Whether it’s something really simple like asking someone how they’re doing that day… or directly saying you want to talk about XYZ topic, we are almost always making an effort to break the ice… but if you really want to talk to your loved one about conflict resolution, you should lean into their mode of communication.”
After members learned of the different kinds of love that exists, they were able to participate in an improv activity where two individuals acting as a couple were given conflict resolution scenarios to act out. Members Andria and Waad covered household responsibilities, going from “Hey babe there’s all this trash out there are you going to take it out?” to “I think we should break up” after one repeatedly says, “No.”
Words like “selfish” and “one-sided” were thrown across the room by members after being asked what kind of communication they had witnessed. The group broke out into discussions about how the improved scenarios could have exhibited a healthier, more productive style of communication.
Speaking on the importance of discussing conflict resolution on a campus, Guinto said, “Due to the fact that community colleges generally don’t have dorms, whether it be their families, friends, or partners, there may be at least one meaningful relationship that Bergen students have within their respective households… Many relationships, romantic and non-romantic alike, struggle because of financial troubles. Many even fail altogether, which is why it is important for community college students to learn and practice skills to tackle these issues in healthy and constructive ways.”
For students interested in participating in similar discussions, the Active Minds club promoted a student-led collaborative panel called “Mental Health Through the Black Lens” scheduled on Thursday February 24 at 5 p.m. in the Student Center. Students who attend will be able to learn about the ways in which the community can destigmatize the health of the black mind.
And for those of you that need some tips on approaching your campus crush on this special day, Giavanna has them for you: “Put yourself out there! People can’t love you if they don’t know you exist.”