Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community will host its annual Healthy Relationships Week emphasis March 2-8. The week’s activities, which include breakout sessions, panel discussions and retreats, are specifically designed to help students learn the art of relating well in all areas of life. Additional sessions will be geared toward engaged and married students to aid them in this transitional period of life.
“Part of being a well-rounded person is knowing how to relate well to others,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center and Healthy Relationship Week program coordinator. “We don’t automatically know how to do this. Our sessions for the week will be led by individuals who have experienced joys and successes and disappointments and failures and through their life experience have learned how to love others well.”
“At the heart of community are the relationships that people enjoy with each other,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement. “Those relationships can be the source of the greatest joy when they are healthy and the source of the deepest pain when they become dysfunctional. Our goal for the week is to make sure that we remain lifelong learners in managing our relationships.”
Amy Campbell, a senior biology major from Russellville, Ark., has served as part of the Healthy Relationships Week student leadership team. “Outside of our relationship with God, relationships with people are the most important and one of the most enjoyable things in our lives,” Campbell noted. “I hope that Healthy Relationships Week will challenge us to improve our skills in order to improve the relationships God has given each of us – not only in romantic relationships but in relationships with friends, family and coworkers.”
The annual emphasis has been modified over the years. Originally known as Marriage and Family Week, Elrod Center leaders felt the need to include more of the campus in the event’s focus. They changed the name to Dating, Engagement and Marriage Week, until extending it even more to Healthy Relationships Week in 2012.
New activities for this year’s schedule include women’s and men’s panel discussions that will be held on two separate nights. These sessions will offer students the opportunity to hear from respected faculty and staff members about relationships in every phase of life.
The week will begin with the women’s panel on Sunday, March 2, at 9 p.m. in Young Auditorium.
On Monday, March 3, James Taylor, director of campus ministries at OBU, and his wife, Amy, will speak at Noonday, held at 12 noon in Berry Chapel. Later that evening, the men’s panel will be held in Young Auditorium at 9 p.m.
Also on Monday, Tiffany Eurich, instructor of communications at OBU, will lead a session on “Friendships in Francie” for freshman girls concerning the facets of healthy friendships. This session, held in the lobby of Frances Crawford Hall, will begin at 9 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 4, Dr. Jeff Fray, a psychologist, will speak on “The Secrets of a Legendary Relationship” during chapel at 10 a.m. in Jones Performing Arts Center. Dr. Fray will be available for further discussion and a question-and-answer time in the Ouachita Commons Alumni Room at 11 a.m.
Later Tuesday evening, a dinner for engaged and married students will be held at the Honeycomb in downtown Arkadelphia at 6 p.m. Ouachita alumni Chris and Tara Kear will speak on “Practical Advice: The Nitty-Gritty Ins and Outs of Marriage.”
On Wednesday, March 5, Merrilee Greer, a hall director at OBU, and her husband, Jeremy, will speak at Noonday. A breakout session led by Leigh Anne McKinney will be held at 4 p.m. on the topic of comparison with others and finding one’s identity in Christ. That evening, there will be a special FCA event for student-athletes in the Blackmon-Benson Fieldhouse team room led by Micah May, FCA area director.
Thursday, March 6, will include two breakout sessions. The first session, at 4 p.m., will be led by Dan Jarboe, university counselor. The discussion will assess “Starting Fresh: How to Keep Your Past Relationships from Soiling Your Future.” The second session will be held in the Ouachita Commons Alumni Room at 5:30 p.m. and will address “The Art of Meaningful Conversation,” led by Scott Haynes, dean of students, and his wife, Katie.
The Thursday evening student worship service, Refuge, will host speakers Brad and Nancy Evans at 9 p.m. Ian Deetz, an OBU hall director, and his wife, Cara, will speak at Noonday on Friday, March 7.
The week’s capstone will be a weekend retreat for Ouachita’s engaged and married couples at the Wingate by Wyndham in Little Rock. The all-expense paid event is made possible by a private donor.
By Molly Bowman