This story was originally published in the Feb. 09 issue of Fourth Estate.
Allison Lundy, staff writer
The Mason community is teaching students about healthy relationships and self-respect.
The Get Your Heart On event hosted by Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Prevention Services is being held on Feb. 10. It is a result of the collaboration of a variety of offices at Mason.
WAVES promotes education and awareness about health, alcohol and drug use, and violence. Through their many services and programs, they encourage students to make safe and healthy life choices.
WAVES has partnered with five other offices – Women and Gender Studies, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, the Office of International Programs and Services, and the Office of Disability Services.
Lauren Mattos, coordinator for Violence Prevention and Response at WAVES, is the main coordinator for the Get Your Heart On event. She hopes to bring the Mason community together through a variety of activities hosted by the various offices present at the event.
The offices have come together, “to educate Mason students about the positive characteristics of healthy and happy relationships with themselves and with others, both romantically and platonically,” Mattod said.
The offices will each have a table, at which they will educate students on different elements relating to their services.
There will be a variety of topics covered at the event, from healthy relationships and consent to global and cultural appreciation.
Jennifer A. Crewalk, Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, says their office’s table will educate students about ODIME’s services, and then allow students to participate in a “pay it forward” activity.
“After learning about our office, participants may reach into a jar and pick a piece of paper with instructions on a meaningful action,” Crewalk said. “The goal of ‘Pay it Forward’ is to encourage our Mason community to build healthy relationships through appreciative and inclusive action.”
Crewalk gave examples of these meaningful actions students may pick. Some of these examples included learning what micro-aggressions are and then teaching someone else, a hand written letter to appreciate someone who works at Mason, attend a Black History Month event with some friends, and invite someone to lunch who commutes to Mason.
Other offices will offer different interactive activities to contribute to the cause of helping students make a positive difference and appreciate themselves, along with others.
“By educating the community on methods of creating and maintaining healthy relationships with themselves and others, and by promoting awareness of unhealthy relationships, the bonds within the George Mason population will continue to strengthen and grow,” Mattos said.
Students can expect to leave the event not only with a new understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship, but with some cool giveaways as well.
“For those who participate in the activities, there will be ‘I [heart] Consensual Sex’ tee shirts and posters available, crafts, a raffle and lots of fun. Lauren may be able to get you the artwork for the event flier,” WAVES Associate Director for Interpersonal Violence Education and Services Caren Sempel said.
Get Your Heart On is held annually by WAVES, and Mattos says with all of the offices involved the event generally gets a good turnout. This year, she hopes to extend awareness about these offices to even more of the Mason community.