Relationship Remix, a two-hour workshop required for all freshmen and transfer students, got a makeover for the 2019-2020 school year.
Previously led by student volunteers, the program instead hired 20 students this academic year as workshop facilitators. The program also updated some of the language used in its curriculum.
Relationship Remix is a program partnership between the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, Wolverine Wellness and First Year Experience. FYE Program Manager Danielle Dros wrote in an email to The Daily that the core curriculum of Relationship Remix continues to engage students in conversations about the importance of healthy relationships in all parts of their lives.
“As we do every year, we have updated portions of the Relationship Remix workshop with new activities with student feedback helping shape the workshop, as well as staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the changing field of sexual violence prevention and healthy relationships work,” Dros wrote.
Nursing junior Ayla Raye-Leonard began facilitating Relationship Remix as a sophomore. She said she noticed positive changes to the program curriculum this year.
“(Relationship Remix) totally revamped the script,” Raye-Leonard said. “They added in a lot more LGBTQ-friendly language, and the dental dam section is totally new, which is super cool and inclusive.”
LSA freshman Jackson Strause participated in a Relationship Remix session Thursday evening. He said the program emphasized personal values while he expected it to include more aspects of sexual education.
“Compared to a lot of other health classes I’ve had, the focus was shifted dramatically from more sexual related stuff to more identity and values,” Strause said.
The 20 paid program facilitator positions now offered by Relationship Remix last for the duration of the workshop season.
“This year, our student facilitators will be staff, where before we had student volunteers,” Dros wrote. “This means we’ve got a strong core team that can really focus on the program, and we can recruit great students earlier, with additional training and support throughout the workshop season.”
In previous years, Relationship Remix consisted of about 80 volunteers. Raye-Leonard said the smaller group allows facilitators to become more closely acquainted and comfortable working with each other.
“Now it’s just 20 people, and so it’s such a small group,” Raye-Leonard said. “It’s so nice, and you know everyone’s name and you can talk to them. During training, we do a lot of team building and continuing (education) on different social issues … which was super nice, because you could work with folks on a more intimate level.”
Strause said he thought the instructors who led his session were very friendly to the entire workshop.
“(The instructors) came around and checked up on all of us during the group sessions,” Strause said. “They were good instructors. They seemed to be enjoying what they were doing and they were really passionate.”
Relationship Remix also added a graduate coordinator position that supports the program throughout the academic year.
Students interested in becoming a Relationship Remix facilitator applied for the position in the spring of 2019, according to Dros. Those chosen students underwent an in-person interview that included a facilitation demonstration by applicants. The 20 selected attended a training process the week prior to the start of the fall semester and began facilitating Relationship Remix sessions Sept. 4.
Relationship Remix looks forward to learning how students and facilitators will receive the changes that have been made for the 2019 season, Dros wrote.
“This will help inform changes for 2020, as the program is always evolving,” Dros wrote. “We’ve already heard from some facilitators that they have appreciated having a tighter-knit group of colleagues to lean on and that they have enjoyed the updated training for 2019.”
This is LSA junior Caroline Shoopman’s first year as a Relationship Remix program facilitator. She said becoming a program facilitator this year showed her ways to be a better person.
“Relationship Remix is the perfect example of what U of M is like, just really socially inclusive,” Shoopman said. “I’m always adapting and trying to make sure everyone is seen and heard … The more I do these things, the more I want to hold myself accountable because I want to be the model for other people. So it’s cool to feel like you’re starting with yourself in the community and people will follow.”