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Brittany Fischer took aim Monday at a dartboard full of blown-up balloons and condoms.

"So you want to hit balloons, not condoms," she was instructed.

A sign above the dartboard explained the game: "The only time you'll ever laugh about a broken condom."

Fischer fired off the dart at the University Center, and she popped a balloon.

In doing so, she joined at least 500 students who participated in Love Fest at the University of Montana, an estimate from Madeline Pearson, co-director of the Advocates for Nonviolence.

"We're sort of trying to celebrate having a healthy relationship with yourself as well as others," Pearson said.

Fischer received one dart for every correct question she answered about healthy sexual activity. For instance: Can you spread herpes even if you're not in the midst of an outbreak? Answer: Yes.

The educational games were hosted by the Advocates for Nonviolence of SARC, or the Student Advocacy Resource Center. The festival with a Valentine's Day theme aimed to support positive relationships and teach students about healthy sex, reproductive rights, testing, and disease prevention.

Sarah Olafson, an organizer, said advocates in the past have spread a message of healthy practices – "anti-discrimination," or "anti-hate crimes," for instance.

This year, she said, they wanted to celebrate relationships that are working well. In addition to mountains of information about sexual activity, the hosts handed out flowers, condoms and "mocktails," or virgin cocktails.

"Way to go, happy couples. You're doing things right. Way to communicate. Way to be in love," Olafson said.

If lovers ever need help, err, with their physical engagement, the Curry Health Center stands ready, said Shanda Hayward. Hayward, a student coordinator, said condoms, lube and pamphlets always are available at Curry.

On Monday, she pointed to a bonus gift, a free "make-out kit," complete with pop rocks, mints and "tips for getting it on."

At one booth, Monique Casbeer put together the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Baking cookies was an activity advocates promoted as fun for couples.

Casbeer said she planned to bake the treats on her own, and Olfason said that was well within bounds.

"We encourage self-love, too," Olafson said.

"But I might find somebody," Casbeer said.

Either way worked for Olafson, who planned to bake her goodies with her cat as company.

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Higher Education Reporter

Higher education / University of Montana reporter for the Missoulian.