Luvapalooza Sparks Conversation on Relationships and Self-Love
At Luvapalooze, students had the opportunity to give their input about how they defined a healthy relationship. Photo by Dylan Greene.

Luvapalooza Sparks Conversation on Relationships and Self-Love

UMBC Student Life hosted “Luvapalooza” on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The event brought together several campus organizations, including the University Health Services, Women’s Center, Bedsiders, the Mosaic and Commonvision, to promote healthy relationship skills, including communication and consent. The focus of this year’s Luvapalooza was on the importance of self-love in creating healthy relationships.

UHS Assistant Director for Health Promotion Samantha Smith said, “Luvapalooza takes on different themes every year. So, this year we wanted to focus on positive images of yourself and positive love for yourself. If you don’t have love for yourself, how much can you give to others?”

Materials about the emotional, communicative and sexual aspects of relationships were available to students.

Peer health educator Alexandra Nguyen spoke about developing the skills to build healthy relationships: “I think [these skills are] really important. It’s something that we should emphasize more, a lot of people don’t pay attention. It’s good to be reminded of them.”

Other activities included boards where students placed sticky notes about self-care activities and characteristics of healthy relationships. Students could also have buttons made. Designs included a Star Wars-themed Valentine’s Day pin based off of BB-8 with the phrase “BB Mine” written on it.

Event staff urged students to learn the relationship skills discussed at Luvapalooza to help prevent abusive behavior. Women’s Center staff member Sophia Woodruff said, “when you enroll in UMBC, there’s a program that helps you recognize relationship abuse. That training is really important in order to help change the views we have around relationships.” Navigating relationships is often part of the college experience, and the organizers of Luvapalooza believe many students can benefit from education on healthy and loving connections.

In the wake of shifting attitudes towards relationships and how they are conducted, the overall mood of the event was optimistic.

“Healthy relationships incorporate communication, boundary setting, trust, honesty. Those are not just romantic interactions, those are also our friendships,” said Smith. “We want to be able to be our own advocates when we’re talking to our friends … [These skills] transition to different situations, [and] they’re so vital for right now and the future.”

UHS Assistant Director for Health Promotion Samantha Smith said, “Luvapalooza takes on different themes every year. So, this year we wanted to focus on positive images of yourself and positive love for yourself. If you don’t have love for yourself, how much can you give to others?”

Materials about the emotional, communicative and sexual aspects of relationships were available to students.

Peer health educator Alexandra Nguyen spoke about developing the skills to build healthy relationships: “I think [these skills are] really important. It’s something that we should emphasize more, a lot of people don’t pay attention. It’s good to be reminded of them.”

Other activities included boards where students placed sticky notes about self-care activities and characteristics of healthy relationships. Students could also have buttons made. Designs included a Star Wars-themed Valentine’s Day pin based off of BB-8 with the phrase “BB Mine” written on it.

Event staff urged students to learn the relationship skills discussed at Luvapalooza to help prevent abusive behavior. Women’s Center staff member Sophia Woodruff said, “when you enroll in UMBC, there’s a program that helps you recognize relationship abuse. That training is really important in order to help change the views we have around relationships.” Navigating relationships is often part of the college experience, and the organizers of Luvapalooza believe many students can benefit from education on healthy and loving connections.

These skills are now being taught in the wake of shifting attitudes towards relationships and how they are conducted. The overall mood of the event, however, was optimistic.

“Healthy relationships incorporate communication, boundary setting, trust, honesty. Those are not just romantic interactions, those are also our friendships,” said Smith. “We want to be able to be our own advocates when we’re talking to our friends … [These skills] transition to different situations, [and] they’re so vital for right now and the future.”