Meredith Blaine (Beta Omega, The University of Toledo) has served as a volunteer for the Let’s Talk Love rotational program since its inception in 2016. She is currently a stay-at-home mom who fills her time with volunteering for her kids’ local Cub Scout pack, advising the vice president intellectual development at Beta Omega chapter and serving as treasurer for the her younger sister’s (Gillian Wilke, Beta Omega) campaign for city council.
She credits Alpha Chi Omega as the jumping-off point for her involvement and leadership development in college, including being on the student judicial board, which propelled her into her career in student conduct and compliance.
Meredith was encouraged to begin volunteering with Let’s Talk Love when she had started a new job and was missing being connected to college students. After learning more about the plans for Let’s Talk Love, she jumped right into the training.
She describes Let’s Talk Love as an educational workshop that discusses healthy relationships, sexual assault and domestic violence in terms that collegiate women can understand and digest. They learn skills to support others and, if need be, take action for someone experiencing one of these issues.
Meredith’s work to support domestic violence awareness is underpinned by her belief that it is an issue that effects everyone- men, women, non-binary people, regardless of age and economic background. When she is facilitating a Let’s Talk Love session, she asks members to raise their hands in response to the question, “How many of you know someone affected by domestic violence? By sexual assault?” She shared that when she looks around, she is lucky if there are two people who don’t have their hand up.
Meredith shared, “I absolutely love when they (the collegians) take the conversation and apply it to themselves. It’s not just an idea floating around anymore. It’s really special to see how they view these ideas, like romantic comedies as a genre of movie and breaking down how stereotypical they are- but man do we love them! Being able to walk through the weeds and talk about how we can recognize that it [a romantic comedy) is not real and not a good relationship – as long as we can recognize that, we can still enjoy it and talk about it.”
When asked how being a facilitator for Let’s Talk Love impacted her life, Meredith shared, “It really came at a time when I was, for the first time in my adult life, not working at a university. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first time, and I felt really disconnected. [With Let’s Talk Love] I felt like I had a purpose, and that giving this presentation was absolutely a worthwhile endeavor and was making a difference even though I wasn’t employed at an institution. And I needed that.”
Meredith shares that being a volunteer for Alpha Chi Omega and a facilitator for Let’s Talk Love has given her an opportunity to share more about the education collegians are getting from the Fraternity around domestic violence awareness: “When I talk about it to people, they get it and affirm how important it is.”
“My dad likes to post when I’m traveling [for Let’s Talk Love]. It’s a point of pride for him,” Meredith shared. She credits her conversations around Let’s Talk Love with changing her father’s perspective around sorority- he even surprised Meredith and donated to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation’s Day of Giving to support the program to help facilitators like Meredith have these important conversations across the nation!