June 13, 2024

Love thy Lancer, a brand new CBU event, has had its debut after years of development. One of the most difficult challenges that Community Life encounters each year is creating a Valentine’s Day event that caters to all students. 

 According to Isabella Esquivel, junior early education major and Community Life intern, the team spent over a year working out an event that would attract students that were both single and in a relationship. 

 “This year, we decided to sketch it in really early to do pretty much a bigger event for Valentine’s Day,” Esquivel said. “Usually, we do a very passive event where students just come in, grab a treat, maybe grab a gram. My vision for Valentine’s Day was to highlight just the concept of Valentine’s Day and change it a little bit, maybe take away a little bit from just the romantic part of it, but make it more of a community thing.”

 Esquivel eventually decided the best course of action was to create a fair-like event with several different booths that students could visit and get snacks and candy from. 

Part of the magic was the childhood-related snacks that were available, such as the “dazzling donuts,” which were handmade by caterers on campus.

 “They make doughnuts, kind of like Krispy Kreme, but right in front of you. And that was a big hit,” Esquivel said. 

 One of the largest difficulties was how to advertise the event. Part of the solution was getting both men and women on the team to help make sure that the event was catered to all types of people.

 “We ended up asking my other coworker Hudson, also an intern, and we wanted to get his insight as a male and how he sees Valentine’s Day. I made sure to preface [by saying],  ‘Hey, I would love for couples to come to this event, but I also want to really make sure that this event is marketed as a community thing.’”

 The reason why there was difficulty in making the event accessible to all students was because of how some single people negatively viewed Valentine’s Day. 

 “As you get older, this negative connotation starts building if you’re not in a relationship, and it’s totally valid. I really get that,” Esquivel said. “But that was my main goal with this event: to take that away to make it about a positive connotation and make it make it about community and just put it out there. CBU is a Christian school where we worship Jesus Christ, and we get to experience his unconditional love, we should be able to celebrate a holiday about love.” 

 Part of the solution to this problem was bringing students back to a simpler time in their lives by simulating the kind of Valentine’s Day Party one would have as a young child. 

“Everybody had a Valentine’s Day experience when they were younger in school where they would make grams and get little boxes and bags and gift each other these little candies,” Esquivel said. “And I wanted to remind people of that, especially because when you were in elementary school, it didn’t matter if you were in a relationship or not because you were little. So everybody just thought Valentine’s Day was like a mini Christmas where you got to give each other cute little gifts. And I wanted to remind people of that feeling.”

 Natalie Studebaker, senior business administration major, stated that the event achieved that aura of nostalgia and felt as though there was something for everyone to enjoy regardless of their relationship status. 

 “I believe it was catered to any individual. It was so fun to go with friends and it never implied only couples or romantic love. It was an event for people to just enjoy and remember the unconditional and unselfish love that God showed to us first,” Studebaker said. 

 She went on to say that her favorite part of the event was making Valentine’s grams for her friends and showing kindness to her peers. 

 “You can come with anyone you want. You can come alone, you can come with a group of friends, and I wanted, no matter who you were, what kind of relationship you were in, that you would take away a sense of love and a sense of belonging,” Esquivel said. 

After hosting the event, Jamie Eriksen, director of Campus Activities, said she believes they achieved their vision with the new event, so much so that they may bring it back when Valentine’s Day rolls around next year. 

 “For us, seeing all different kinds of students come in through this space, and engaging with the different activations was so gratifying to us just to see the joy of people,” Eriksen said. “People are just walking up with smiles on their faces, and just so excited to be able to celebrate in a way that builds community.”

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