By Lindsey Valancius
Eight Catholic University students joined college students from across the nation at the Love and Fidelity Network Conference this past October. The conference was hosted at Princeton University and the speakers for the three-day conference included professors from Princeton, Villanova, and Brigham Young Universities.
The conference’s theme was sexual integrity on university campuses. The twist? Not one speaker used the word “God” in their talks. Sexual Integrity is the mission of the Love and Fidelity Network, a national organization that promotes the traditional view of relationships and marriage using psychological and sociological data as evidence.
Since the organization’s founding at Princeton University in 1746, chapters have been formed on college campuses across the nation to promote conversation about the immediate and future problems of today’s hook-up culture. Chapters have since formed at universities such as Harvard, Georgetown and Brigham Young. The Anscombe Society is Catholic University’s chapter. The society is not a Catholic organization. One of the board members, Emma Wilenta, a freshman politics major, is a Presbyterian.
William Deatherage, a junior politics and theology double major is the president of the society. Deatherage stated the fact the society is not directly affiliated with the Catholic Church is what is unique about the Anscombe Society’s mission. The goal is to create a discussion about “a good dating culture” on campus, including students of all faiths. To Deatherage and others who support this movement, experiential evidence points to the beneficial effects of creating healthy dating habits.
To create discussion about the dating culture on campus, the Anscombe Society recently conducted a survey about what students see as the major problem with Catholic University’s dating culture.
“The way people date now can damage people’s approaches to relationships for a long time, even a long time after college,” said Liam O’Toole, a junior theology major and administrative assistant of the Anscombe Society.
Surveys were passed out to anyone who stopped by the society’s table in the Pryzbyla Center. O’Toole said that the overwhelming consensus was that alcohol and peer pressure are the major barriers to creating a healthy dating culture on Catholic University’s campus.
Another way that the club raises awareness about healthy relationships is by hosting speakers on campus. Last spring, the society hosted an event with Father Paul Scalia, the son of the former Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. Father Paul Scalia spoke about Catholic dating relationships and the club’s board is planning to host a similar event this upcoming spring.
Members of the Anscombe Society meet every other week to discuss relevant topics and club logistics. Generally, about ten to twenty people attend these meetings, but the club is looking to expand.
Deatherage stated that he recently set up a Facebook and Instagram for the Anscombe Society and hopes this “modernization” will lead to a more active participation on campus.
Members agree and support the message of healthy relationships and sexual integrity, which is unusual for many college students today, but the members say that it is nonetheless a vital one.
Deatherage said that increasing dialogue about healthy dating is important because “the habits we form in college will reflect the way we live out later on in life.”
“When going to college, it was important to involve myself in things I believed in,” Wilenta, a freshman board member said.
Wilenta also says that the Anscombe Society “aligns with how I was raised and what I now believe.”