Understanding true meaning of love

Melissa Buddie

Sophomore at the University of Notre Dame and speaker on the hookup culture panel at the university’s 2009 Edith Stein Project, a conference that explores various issues of gender, sexuality and human dignity

“Is a hookup harmful? Absolutely. It disfigures our interpretation on love. It is an addiction. You dehumanize another person when you use them for your own sexual fulfillment, and you undervalue yourself by allowing that other person to do the same thing to you. I think the better question is: Is hooking up ever a good thing? 

“Be able to ask yourself, ‘What is love?’ If you can define love, even just through fragments and experiences, then you will see that hooking up is not love. I think that is all you need to resist the hookup culture. Why would anyone ever participate in the hookup culture if they truly understood what love was? Why would anyone ever subject themselves to that lifestyle if they understood how much better things would be if they sought true love as opposed to pure sexual lust?”

Promoting the benefits of abstinence

Rachel Wagley

Junior at Harvard University and co-president of True Love Revolution, an on-campus group advocating premarital abstinence 

“True Love Revolution advocates premarital abstinence in order to inform and educate young adults about how to approach interpersonal relationships in a healthy and fulfilling way, which we hope will lay a foundation for strong marriages in their future. Commitment doesn’t start when there’s a ring on your finger, and the divorce rate shows that people no longer understand or value commitment; you have to develop those skills throughout your young adulthood and understand what fidelity, commitment and deep love really mean. We appeal to human nature — people don’t want to be used, and people do want to be loved. So an appealing presentation of abstinence stresses that waiting until marriage is incredibly beneficial, and I think a lot of people innately agree with us; it’s more a matter of defending abstinence that makes you step back and wonder how to best communicate to people who follow the cultural mantra, ‘Just do what feels good.’ 

“The hookup culture is not hard to resist. It’s a choice you make. You look at yourself and you ask what you want from life and what you want to give to someone else. Most students want to get married, so just like we learn how to interview and succeed in careers, let’s learn how to love people as people, not turn them into sexual escapades.”

Finding like-minded friends

Michael Bohnert

Junior at the University of Notre Dame and Council 1477 Knights of Columbus Representative for the university’s 2010 Edith Stein Project 

“I resist the hookup culture by having a great core group of friends and planning group activities with people I enjoy spending time with. One of the best ways I have found to do this is just come up with an event I enjoy and have open invitations.” 

“With the on-campus student-run Knights of Columbus chapter, in addition to other groups, we have held dance lessons followed by an open dance period where those in attendance can just have fun and practice what they have learned. My advice to students resisting the hookup culture is find a few groups of friends that you share interests with and plan events based on those interests. People will come. Social networking sites really make it easy to organize events. Work with your school’s student activities office for venues, funding and advice.”