By Catherine Champagne, Coordinator of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education
There are many benefits of living in a small, residential community like Denison. One of the things I appreciate about being on the hill are the many opportunities for close bonds and friendships to develop. When walking across campus, this friendship is visible in the number of students who greet each other with enthusiasm, the groups of friends grabbing a bite in Slayter, and in the subtle acts of kindness observed between students and staff alike. These social ties speak to the character of the Denison community, and also play an important role in shaping students’ overall health and well-being.
As someone who is personally and professionally dedicated to promoting wellness in all forms, I think it’s important to highlight these examples of positive social/relational well-being. What better time of year than on Valentine’s Day? In fact, CSMART (Community Sexual Misconduct Awareness and Response Team) will soon be hosting a panel of faculty/staff to speak about healthy relationships: what do they look like, and what does it take to sustain them? Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to attend the program on February 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Higley Hall Auditorium.
Of course, celebrating healthy relationships on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In the spirit of keeping things simple (and cheap!), I did some thinking about ideas for fun, inexpensive dates to be enjoyed with friends or significant others. I asked a few other Denisonians to contribute to this list, and I’m excited to present their recommendations below:
Denison Date Ideas (in no particular order!)
* Warm up at River Road Coffee Shop (Catherine Champagne, Alcohol, Drug, & Health Education). There is nothing more soothing than sharing in conversation over a warm cup of coffee or tea. With fun flavors, homey atmosphere, and plenty of tables for two, River Road is a great location.
* Take a walk at Sugarloaf Park (Molly Thurlow-Collen, Health Services) Only a block away from the corner of Stone Hall is the entrance to Sugarloaf Park. This secluded, delightfully simple trail to the top of this hill provides a shared experience for you and yours. There are even picnic tables at the top to sit and rest while sharing a picnic meal. (Address: 411 West Broadway)
* Attend a Denison Athletic game (Dave Woodyard, Faculty, Religion) One of the joys of an authentic community is the gift of mutual support. Denison athletes desire it, and we have an opportunity to express it at their games – and bring a partner!
* Have a Movie/Pizza Night: (Julie Tucker, Assessment & Research) Walk down the hill to the Granville library and choose a movie from their pretty extensive DVD collection–something funny or action-packed or even a sappy romantic comedy! On your way home, stop by Elms and pick up a pizza to enjoy with your movie!
* Northstar Cafe in Easton: (Steven Profitt, Religious & Spiritual Life) With its lively atmosphere, delicious food, and friendly staff, Northstar is a stellar date locale. It’s also tucked right in the heart of Easton. Feel free after your meal to venture next door to Barnes and Noble, visit the shops and stores in the district, and explore the mall. I personally recommend the key lime truffles in the mall’s candy shop!
* Visit Dawes Arboretum (Cathy Dollard, Faculty, History) A true hidden gem; a great place for a walk! The Japanese Garden / Pond is especially lovely. Located on the east side of Newark.
* Go ice skating (Sara Lee, Faculty, Athletics, Physical Education) In Newark, the Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena in has open public skating sessions and skate rental. Afterwards, get some hot chocolate at the coffee shop! http://www.newarkicearena.com/public-skate
* A little bit of friendly competition (Brian Collingwood, Career Exploration & Development). Whether it means challenging a date to a game on the racquetball court at The Mitchell Center, or taking on another sport in a nearby location, friendly competition can break the ice, lead to a lot of laughs, and prove to be a fun time!
I hope this list will inspire you to grab a friend and try something new this Valentine’s Day. Here’s to the many great relationships at Denison!