Cupid calls for campus compassion

Freezing weather has taken over campus, but Cupid’s favorite holiday will soon defrost frozen hearts … or further the icy hatred in others.
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day right around the corner, guys desperately search for a gift idea they haven’t already used to woo their special someone. Meanwhile, girls must conquer one of the most difficult obstacles in life: What thoughtful gift can you possibly buy a man?

Senior political science major Stephanie Edwards, junior nursing major Brooke Downs and senior political science/speech major Loren Cowan make cards at the Rotaract Club's Valentine-making station in the SUB. Antonio Hebert/The Bells

Senior political science major Stephanie Edwards, junior nursing major Brooke Downs and senior political science/speech major Loren Cowan make cards at the Rotaract Club’s Valentine-making station in the SUB. Antonio Hebert/The Bells

Women welcome chocolate, flowers and jewelry year in and year out, but only so much cologne and so many T-shirts can be bought and received with fake surprise.
Then, there’s the ever-present struggle of not being in a relationship at all—where buying your fish a pink and red plant for his bowl is the most exciting gift of love you’ll give on the day.
Luckily, the university has a variety of ways couples and singles—yes, even lonely people—can give back to others on the day of love.
Senior political science/speech double major Loren Cowan serves as president of the Rotaract Club. After hearing a volunteer coordinator for New Century Hospice speak at one of the group’s meetings, Cowan and the other members decided to use the lovey-dovey feelings that come along with Feb. 14th to encourage making cards for hospice patients.
“(It) is all about serving people, and we really wanted to focus on that this semester.… we thought it would be a great idea for this project to benefit others that may not have that special someone to share Valentine’s Day with,” Cowan said.
The group camped out in the SUB on Monday, selling valentines. For $2, students were able to put smiles on the faces of people they had never met by inking personalized messages on lacey, heart-shaped cards. All proceeds went to New Century Hospice.
Because getting shot with an arrow by a winged baby in a diaper sounds completely unappealing, the university’s chapter of the American Marketing Association is giving Crusaders the opportunity to send candy grams to people they love. Or just have mild affection for.
Vice president and senior international business major Ryan Sewell said the group wanted to put its own spin on a cheesy high school fundraiser.
“It’s not worth a dollar keeping your love hidden,” he said. “Why not use your pocket change to tell someone special how you feel or to send a good friend a nice note?”
Though the organization received its charter just last year, Sewell believes things are running smoothly. He hopes the event will raise money to help finance the annual conference in April.
“Our booth will have information about our organization as well as the info of how to buy a candy gram and send it to someone,” he said.
AMA will deliver sweet treats on Valentine’s Day.Members will take orders Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the SUB.
But spreading some love can happen year round, and Random Acts of Kindness seeks to do just that.
Junior Christian studies major Leah White serves with Random Acts of Kindness. She enjoyed some of the anonymous deeds the group did last year, like paying for someone else’s fast food, leaving cookies with encouraging notes and carting baskets at the grocery store.
To volunteer alongside other members, students can like the group on Facebook for meeting updates.
“With holidays such as Valentine’s Day, where those without a significant other are left feeling lonely, scrounging for some friend to share in the pink and chocolates with, or just plain hating it because it’s never been a good time of the year for them, the opportunity to give is immense,” White said.  “We plan to spread love to all during this time of the year, regardless of their status.  But our giving doesn’t stop at big holidays.”
As students are bombarded with housing applications, financial aid forms, summer plans or even graduation, the opportunity for spontaneous kindness is ever-present. White encourages people to find the group on Facebook to see when and where meetings will be held.

Junior nursing major and Rotaract Club member Awna Shiflett sits down at a table in the SUB to write a special, uplifting Valentine's Day message to a hospice patient in need of encouragement. Antonio Hebert/The Bells

Junior nursing major and Rotaract Club member Awna Shiflett sits down at a table in the SUB to write a special, uplifting Valentine’s Day message to a hospice patient in need of encouragement. Antonio Hebert/The Bells

Put away the crossbow, people. Instead, pick up a card, candy gram or even spend some time with people who need a little love any day of the year.
“You can do your part by taking everyday opportunities around you to step out of your comfort zone and offer a kind hand to another. It’s as simple as wishing someone you don’t know a blessed day,” White said.
Good luck on your romantic endeavors, and remember: Don’t be tricked by the boxes of chocolate. Some of them have orange filling, and those things are just plain deceptive. Be on your guard.

Author: Katelyn Holm

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