The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 14, 2011

Research: Most students dislike casual intimate relationships

— LEWISBURG — They call it the “hook-up culture.”

A guy and girl drink a little bit at a party and let their hormones take over. This happens often, and a lot of students at Bucknell University and other schools across the country participate.

Some students at Bucknell say it’s gotten to the point that dating is obsolete on campus.

But here’s what’s interesting, says Donna Freitas, a religion professor at Boston College who wrote the book “Sex and the Soul.”

“What’s been interesting, clear across the board, it doesn’t matter the school, students who are a part of the hook-up culture don’t like the hook-up culture,” Freitas said. “They, interestingly, want what looks like old-fashioned dating.”

Freitas was on campus Sunday to speak about the findings in her book as part of an effort by faculty and students to address the impacts and ramifications of such casual relationships.

The effort is being supported by the religious organizations on campus, said Christopher Kim, a mechanical engineering professor who is one of several faculty members organizing discussion of the issue.

The effort, in its early stages, dovetails with efforts by university President John Bravman, who has created a task force to address issues of sexual assault and relationships on campus, Kim said.

He added that the Rev. Thomasina A. Yuille, the university’s chaplain, was spearheading things with students, but was not able to attend Freitas’ talk.

The message of the group is not to force its morals on students.

“It’s their choice, but they have to make an informed choice,” Kim said.

Information is one reason Freitas was asked to speak. Her book looks at the culture of relationships on college campuses. After a year of research and several more years of compiling and writing the book, she found most students dislike casual intimate relationships.

The problem is they feel there is no alternative.

“There’s a sadness,” Freitas said. “They say there’s not any dating on campus, and I wish somebody would start dating, so then I could do it, too.”

Students involved say a number of their peers feel much the same way.

“There are students who are not into the hook-up culture,” said Matthew Laube, a 2010 Bucknell graduate.

Friend Sara Minkler, a senior at the school, agreed.

“They feel isolated because they don’t want to engage in this behavior,” she said.

They are in the process of forming a more solid group, building off Freitas’ talk. The group wants to conduct a survey of students on the issues.

And a next activity might be a “dating for dummies” class.

“So much of it is, you meet at a party and hook up,” Laube said. “What’s a real relationship look like? What are the alternatives, the way to build a healthy relationship.”


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