Dinner and Discussion on love


(From left to right) Emily Ehrlich ’19, Jacquelynne Burmester ’20 and Nicole Derosier ’20 at the event. Photo by Zineb Hajjaj.

Sarah Tritt, Contributing Writer

Every Tuesday night in Sorum, Campus Protestant Ministries (CPM) assembles to have dinner together and hosts student-led discussions, called Dinner and Discussion around Diversity (DDD). While CPM is the organization that hosts these discussions, they are open to people of all religious backgrounds.

On Tuesday, February 12, the discussion topic was “What is the Difference between Romantic and Platonic Love?” Discussion topics can be speculative or more personal and experience-based.

Past topics have included the rights deserved by AI, what people think happens when we die, whether or not we can judge ourselves fairly and how our religious identities influence our academic careers.

President of DDD Jacquelynn Burmester ’20 said of the weekly event, “The discussions we have are always valuable. They’re something you don’t get in a classroom setting.”

The discussion, led by Christine Nguyen ’20, lasted the usual hour allotted to the group. In her opening remarks to start the conversation, Nguyen asked the group, “I want to know, how do you differentiate between [the different types of love]?”

In response to her question, the conversation went from point to point: the way each participant personally defined romantic and platonic love led to how they had experienced the types of love, which in turn led to how they gave or thought about love.

Some seemed to believe in a clear distinction between the love between friends and the love for a significant other, while some claimed the love they felt was more fluid when it came to the people in their life.

They also touched briefly on things like the love of family, the experience of loving someone without pursuing a relationship and the evolution of a loving relationship over time, whether in a marriage or a close friendship.

There was no bottom-line to the discussion, however, the impression the group gave was overwhelmingly that romantic and platonic love had similar levels of value to them.

In her closing remarks, Nguyen looked back on the last hour and observed, “It sounds like romantic and platonic love are pretty similar [to people in the group].”

Nguyen also said, “[I] enjoyed what everyone said, the discussion was good.” Nguyen felt that even if not everybody experiences love the same way, it was clear that the group felt comfortable talking about it and hearing about opinions that might not line up with their own.

The organizers of DDD did not expect the people in attendance to come to a clear consensus on the topic.

When asked about how the specific discussion fit in the whole of the club’s mission, Burmester said, “Discussing the roles of platonic and romantic love is something that we don’t necessarily explore a lot in our society… it’s really nice to discuss what we personally may feel about [love].”