“Love Panel” contributes to diversification of love at Urban

Behind the candy grams and raffles of Love Week lies a serious question which Peer Resource has brought to the forefront of students’ minds through their organization of the Love Panel: What does it mean to love? At lunch on Tuesday, nine Urban teachers shared personal advice and experiences of love from their lives. When asked about the misconceptions they faced while growing up, many of the panelists lamented the dated information they received about love during their childhood. In prior years, love was often taught as an experience which could only be appreciated at an intense, committed level. In an interview following the confidential panel, underclassmen Dean Riley Maddox recalled that “around love, everything was like…you gotta go all out! It’s gotta be full tilt!” Maddox’s reflection accentuates the binary nature of love-related education in past years and displays the effect of a widespread expectation that love should be reserved for devoted romantic relationships. Many panelists’ current associations with love include a broader spectrum of relationships, aligning with Peer Resource’s progress in diversifying the definition of love. In addition to expressing their gratitude for the non-romantic sources of love in life, multiple panelists disputed the age-old adage that love is found with “the one”. Kristjiana Gong supported the idea that love does not simply depend on fortuitous matchmaking. After the conclusion of the panel, Gong stated her belief that “over time, you can come to love and appreciate anyone.” Contesting the idea that love can be found with just a single soul mate, Gong reiterated a common sentiment among many panelists: that love has emerged not simply as a bond between romantic partners, but as an omnipresent opportunity which can be cultivated within any relationship.

The proposition that love could thrive anywhere but within the confines of a heteronormative marriage has been a highly disputed and stigmatized topic throughout history. Peer Resource’s implementation of this event into the school week and the insight offered by the panelists reflect Urban’s willingness to challenge the conventional definition of love and advocate for the acceptance of intimacy in all forms.