"Big Four" Highlights


Bring Dating Back

Campus campaign seeks to make romance fun again

By Patrice Athanasidy

With Valentine’s Day coming this weekend, a young person’s mind may turn to love. Yet with the hook-up culture on college campuses, many students have had some sexual experience without ever having gone on a real date.

Never fear! The Love & Fidelity Network is ready with its second annual Bring Dating Back campaign to help college kids discover the fun and common sense rules of connecting with the opposite sex.

According to Caitlyn P. La Ruffa, executive director of the network, “The inspiration for the Bring Dating Back campaign grew out of a talk from our national conference about the lack of dating on campuses.” She explained that the current culture consists of hook-ups with practically no attachment or a series of serious yet co-dependent relationships. The idea of going on a date and getting to know someone better is rather foreign to most students.

Last year this program focused on the how-to of going on a date. Those helpful hints are still available on the website. This year, a number of campuses are hosting lectures to open dialogue about romance and relationships. At Columbia University they will discuss, “How to follow your heart without losing your mind.” At the University of Pennsylvania, a recently married alum will discuss love and marriage. At Brown University, students will have the chance to watch the romantic movie Roman Holiday.

“During last year’s campaign, we challenged students to use the how-to advice and ask someone on a date,” says La Ruffa, who is married and has an infant child. “A date has been built into this huge thing. Many students told us they were afraid. We know the program helped many, based on anecdotes students shared.”

La Ruffa said students crave real relationships and dating eliminates the one-dimensional types of relationships often found on today’s campuses. “It is almost a competition of who can stay more anonymous,” she noted.

The Bring Back Dating program is available on more than 30 campuses nationwide with thousands of posters announcing the campus events. Flower giveaways and other romantic gestures will also encourage students to visit the relationship side of Valentine’s Day. La Ruffa says research shows students want to date. They just need to know how to begin.

“It really doesn’t need to be complicated,” says La Ruffa. “We help them pick a good date spot, start a conversation. This year the emphasis is on helping them overcome the fear of dating. It can be winsome and humorous.”

The Love & Fidelity Network, based in Princeton, N.J., works on college campuses across the nation to support love, marriage and sexual integrity. They bring guest speakers, panels and events like movie nights to help create opportunities for students to discuss relationships and explore how to make connections work in this challenging age.

“I hope that it acts as a catalyst,’ says La Ruffa. “It challenges them to think more deeply about what romance is, what love is, what healthy relationships look like.”

For more information of the Bring Dating Back program and the Love & Fidelity Network visit loveandfidelity.org.

Patrice Athanasidy writes from Westchester, N.Y.