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‘Bites and Insights’: A small group discussion about big ideas

From+left+to+right%3A+Caroline+Berry+and+Zoe+Gras+were+just+two+of+the+attendees+at+the+Prevention+Education+Networks+new+discussion+series%2C+Bites+and+Insights%2C+led+by+Zorianne+Taylor.+
Sammie Macaranas
From left to right: Caroline Berry and Zoe Gras were just two of the attendees at the Prevention Education Network’s new discussion series, “Bites and Insights,” led by Zorianne Taylor.

“And initially, I was just kind of like, ‘What do people need to talk about that isn’t being talked about?’ Because I feel like we’re so aware of so many things on the internet, but no one actually implements them in their lives,” junior Zorianne Taylor, an intern with the Title IX Office and a member of the Prevention Education Network at Ithaca College, said at her event, “Bites and Insights.” 

The event, hosted by PEN, was a discussion about modern relationships, the self and the Internet. Taylor presented the discussion to about six students Nov. 7 in Textor 102. Taylor paired snacks — from tacos to hot chocolate — with important conversation to attendees and music played as students walked in and were greeted by Taylor’s boisterous laughter. 

The discussion was open and allowed attendees to talk honestly about their experiences of being overwhelmed by the media along with how the Internet has impacted them forming both platonic and romantic relationships. First-year Percival Koontz said he does not typically speak up in larger groups, so having a smaller gathering was helpful to express himself. 

“Well, what I really liked about how this was set up was how open it was,” Koontz said. “I actually liked the smaller group. I mean, I had hoped that there would be more people, but I liked how it felt very comfortable and natural. … I felt a lot more comfortable in this setting. So I think it was well done and well-organized also.”

Taylor said she was given creative freedom to create the event and said this was her first time organizing an event at the college. She said that she had greater expectations for the number of people to show up, but also that having a small group was better.

“I think, although not a lot of people came, it was still exactly what I wanted it to be,” Taylor said. “Which is just like a really chill conversation and people sharing opinions and perspectives on current culture. … But outside of that, it’s exactly what I wanted it to be.”

Title IX interns work with PEN to report to the Title IX office as well as educate students, staff and faculty about healthy behaviors in relationships, affirmative consent, and plan and host events and help promote them for the office. Taylor said she was inspired by Jubilee, a YouTube channel that brings people with differing opinions together to give them space to discuss them while taking time to bring the conversation back to the “middle ground.”

First-year student Chloe Segar came to the event with Koontz along with two other friends, and she said the current hookup culture in society is based around getting social capital. 

“I get why people were just like, hey, ‘You want to have sex?But then there’s making a whole deal out of it and saying, ‘Oh, how many people have you slept with?’” Segar said. “It’s completely subjective, but I think it gets sort of insane at a point where it’s like you’re only doing this to have another phone number. Like sort of as a statistic of how many people you’ve had sex with for some sort of praise.”

However, senior Zoe Gras, who crocheted during the event while listening and participating, disagreed with Segar’s statement. Gras said that as people get older, they have more temporary relationships and can have agreeable one-night relationships, which may be harder to have at a younger age, but she also said some of those relationships could be problematic. 

“It’s definitely not for me,” Gras said. “But I do have friends that are like, ‘I just feel like this is what I need, I just need a social connection for one night.’ … But I do think it’s misogynistic.”

Taylor used this idea of bringing the conversation back to center after the disagreement. 

“I always come back to that middle ground with what [modern hookup culture] is now,” Taylor said. “It could be so much better than what it is now. … But I think it always comes back to who you are and what you want in that moment and if you’re connected to that, then it can be healthy if we’re both like, again, setting boundaries.

Senior Caroline Berry said what piqued her interest in attending the event was wanting to participate in a conversation with younger college students to share her own experiences of relationships in college. 

“I’ve just been looking back on different parts of the college experience and I feel like hooking up, hookup culture and things like that are all some of the biggest parts of what you learn in college, how to have relationships with other people,” Berry said. 

Koontz said that attending this discussion was important to him because it brought him a new perspective on relationships he had not had before. 

“I’m ace to start, and also demi,” Koontz said. “So a lot of the conversation didn’t apply to me, but it still was eye opening into a community and a culture that I have no knowledge on.”

The entire purpose of the event was to get a conversation going and to get different people with different perspectives to participate in one, healthy discussion, Taylor said. She said although she had marketed the event towards AFAB (assigned female at birth) people, she said her advertisements for the event encouraged anyone and everyone to attend. Taylor said the next Bites and Insights event she will be holding will be from 3–4:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in Textor 102 and will be geared toward discussing modern masculinity. 

“But just with the way our society is, where it’s just ‘go, go, go,’ I feel like people aren’t doing internal work and understanding their own beliefs because a lot of people just kind of do the groupthink thing,” Taylor said. “So I think it’s important for people to have these conversations, so they can hear other people’s perspectives.”

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About the Contributors
Vivian Rose, Assistant News Editor
Vivian is an assistant News Editor for The Ithacan.
Sammie Macaranas, Videographer
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