Athletes Explore Relationship Escalation

Randy Ollie, Sports Editor

Student-athletes gathered at the Knowlton Athletics Complex Monday night for Oberlin’s first One Love Escalation Workshop. One Love Foundation was started in 2010 after Yeardley Love, a senior lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend three weeks shy of graduation. Love’s parents started the foundation with the goal of increasing awareness about relationship violence and outlining the hallmarks of healthy relationships.

The workshop began with a film screening on the escalation of violence in relationships. The film begins with what first appears to be a healthy relationship. Different kinds of scenarios are depicted, many of which reflect ways in which young adult relationships could become emotionally or physically unhealthy. The workshop then broke into a group discussion, at which point students shared their own personal experiences, things that they had learned from the film and what resonated most with them.

Senior lacrosse player and founder of Oberlin’s One Love Foundation chapter Alex Wagman led the workshop. Wagman said that his work with the One Love campaign started when he came across the movement on social media. “There were these 15-second Instagram videos that would show what is love and what isn’t,” Wagman said. “At first they seemed a little black and white, and then I got the idea that these are actually pretty good tools that relate back to my own life and the people around me.”

Using the hashtags #THATSNOTLOVE and #THATSLOVE, One Love Foundation’s social media accounts feature everything from cartoon animations, real-life stories and workshop tools. While some content is intended to be lighthearted, each post is educational in some way.

The warning signs preluding relationship violence is an under-discussed topic on college campuses. One in three women and one in four men in the United States will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime. People ages 16 to 24 are at three times greater risk, with college students representing one of the most at-risk populations.

Wagman said the One Love Foundation offers relationship education that extends past other teachings that athletes and other students receive at Oberlin College.

“As an athlete, we have Title IX workshops that are somewhat similar, but they really don’t get you involved or motivate students to participate willingly,” he said. “The main difference for me is that One Love addresses the stuff that happens before the actual issue in an engaging and relatable way.”

The workshop concluded with an invitation to join the One Love Movement, at which point the chapter recruited new members, some of whom will be selected by the foundation to take the helm next year when Wagman graduates this spring.

One Love Foundation has workshops in 683 college campuses. Additional information about the One Love Foundation can be found at