Texas Tech Students, Staff Discuss One Love Initiative

More than 40 students across campus are participating in the campaign and creating relationship violence awareness.

Barnes

Chloe Barnes, director of student-athlete affairs

Texas Tech University hosted its first One Love Week Nov. 9-13, ending with a recognition event at the men's basketball season opener. Chloe Barnes, director of student-athlete affairs, brought One Love to the Texas Tech campus after attending a conference this summer.

The initiative is spread out across campus, incorporating students from organizations including Athletics, the School of Law, Mentor Tech, Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) and Fraternity & Sorority Life.

"Relationship violence, like many other safety and health concerns of college-aged students, is not limited to living on campus or being involved in other organizations or teams," said Harriette Baker, assistant director of Fraternity & Sorority Life. "It is important students don't connect this issue as a platform or cause of one specific group. There is a shared responsibility among all Red Raiders to understand the signs, intervene and teach others about the destructive nature of relationship violence.

"Throughout this process the involvement of such diverse stakeholders has provided such a wide variety of perspectives on a single, shared concern. So often our areas see instances of anxiety, depression and a general lack of direction, but it was not until we really started unpacking relationship violence that we acknowledged unhealthy relationships here on campus were contributing."

Anthony Lyons, a junior accounting major from Arlington and a student-athlete with Texas Tech Baseball; Tori Skillings, a junior psychology major from Plano and a member of Pom Squad and Zeta Tau Alpha; and Samuel Phariss, a junior management major from Houston and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and vice president of risk management with the Interfraternity Council, were among the students selected to become student facilitators. These students discussed how they became involved and what they hope the initiative will accomplish.

How did you get involved in One Love?

Anthony Lyons: "Chloe Barnes, the director of student-athlete affairs, asked me to volunteer my time for this organization as a student-athlete and a leader on campus, and hearing what the movement was about, it was hard for me not to get involved."

One Love Logo

The One Love Foundation was founded in 2010

Tori Skillings: "I'm personally familiar with violent relationships and have dealt with the emotions behind it. Ever since I wasn't a part of that anymore, I have felt the need to help prevent others from dealing with what I had to deal with. My spirit directors decided I would be a good representative for the One Love initiative and that it would help me learn how to communicate situations like this with other people for my future."

Samuel Phariss: "Harriette Baker asked me to be on the One Love campaign. She gave me a brief rundown of what it was and I agreed because it was something I didn't have a big knowledge base about. I'm a student assistant in the RISE office. I got a little more information from my boss, Kim Simón, and then ultimately said 'Hey, this is something I'd be interested in learning more about.'"

What are your thoughts on the week and its importance?

Lyons: "One Love Week will have a tremendous effect on the students and faculty of this university. As students, we are all in a vulnerable time in our lives where we are exposed to things that could very well change us for the rest of our lives. Domestic violence is something that is everywhere, and it is important to understand what domestic violence is and how it begins. Today there is a misconception that it always is some man striking a woman, but that's not the only case. There are many actions that lead to the violent parts of an unhealthy relationship. We are trying to teach that it isn't always physical abuse. By raising knowledge about the signs of these unhealthy relationships, we can help someone who may be in danger or know someone with these same characteristics in their relationship and hopefully help prevent further cases of domestic violence on our campus."

Skillings: "I think the week is very important because it will help everyone become more aware of how serious relationship violence is. Many people are not familiar with the signs that come along with violent relationships, and they need to know what they are to help someone who is suffering. So many individuals are involved in relationships that are harmful emotionally, physically or mentally, and they aren't able to seek the help they need until it's too late. This inspirational program offers universities the tools and skills to help prevent violent relationships from happening."

Phariss: "Sometimes we think of domestic violence as a foreign concept. Unfortunately, it's a very predominant thing on college campuses across the nation that there are unhealthy, violent and abusive relationships in any form whether it's emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse. A concept I think One Love especially is demonstrating is that relationship violence doesn't discriminate among people. It can happen to a male or female, it can happen in heterosexual or homosexual relationships. It can happen across the spectrum, and I think that's important for students to take away and be understanding of how relationship violence does work. A Greek Life student is at the same risk as a student-athlete, just as much as somebody in the band or the Honors College. It doesn't discriminate."

How do you plan to further the initiative?

Baker

Harriette Baker, assistant director of Fraternity & Sorority Life

Baker: "The wonderful student facilitators who have taken the time to invest in this initiative will really be the guiding voice moving forward. I think it is important they take the lead and determine where and when students should be receiving this information to have the largest impact. Many of our facilitators, during our initial discussions, referred to unhealthy relationships starting as early as middle school, making outreach to local high schools an initiative the group is considering."

Lyons: "As a student-athlete I am aware of the attention we receive in the media. So as a student leader, I am aware of the problems that arise with student-athletes, and we are all working with the teams on campus to make them more educated about these problems. Over time hopefully student-athletes can set an example and become models for the rest of the student leaders and population. As student facilitators, we want the One Love initiative to carry on throughout the year. Since this campaign is relatively new, we want to establish it as a student-led organization. We are going to strive to have at least one campus wide One Love event every semester. Outside of that we want to inspire other students to become involved in this organization. For those who may be in danger of one of an unhealthy relationship or domestic violence, we hope to help as students, collaborate with resources on campus and direct them to someone who can assist them further."


Skillings: "One way I plan to further the initiative is to inform the organizations I'm involved in first, and then help spread the word through social media and to anyone who wants to be more informed. I also plan to continue to build on the relationships I've made through the program to make an impact so the university feels connected as a whole." Phariss: "I think it's important for this to become an ongoing conversation on campus just like Title IX, just like alcohol use. I think for myself as well as other facilitators, we want it to continue. If professors want to have a presentation about it, I think it would be good for facilitators to have that option available to facilitate to their fellow students. Maybe bringing new things to orientation, and things like that, where we reach them more rapidly and at a younger age of our students so it does become an ongoing conversation."

About One Love

More than 40 Texas Tech students are involved in the One Love initiative that was announced Oct. 2. The student facilitators led workshops and showed the "Escalation" video to students, faculty and staff during the week. Student facilitators, faculty and staff plan to continue the initiative with more workshops about relationship violence and another week of events occurring during the spring 2016 semester.

One Love Week is part of the One Love Foundation, an organization that was started by Sharon Love in 2010 in memory of her daughter, Yeardley, a student-athlete at the University of Virginia who died as a result of relationship violence.