Cupid strikes Whitman clubs on Valentine’s Day

Alexa Grechishkin, Campus Life Reporter

As anticipation for Valentine’s Day grew, clubs across Whitman used the love in the air as an opportunity to enrich campus life. Although popular culture focuses on the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day, the events students hosted and attended over the holiday speaks to Whitties’ love for  fostering community bonds.

Director of LGBTQIA+ Student Services Rachel Freeman-Cohen explained that the rainbow macrame crafting event hosted on Feb. 14 allowed students to come together while making a unique piece of art.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get together, do some crafting with our hands [and] build community. Typically on [Feb.] 14, a lot of individuals on social media and the whole energy of Valentine’s Day is very focused on intimate love and relationship love,” Freeman-Cohen said. “Other forms of love are left out of the conversation when it comes to platonic love, familial love [and] queer love, [so this event] is really just an opportunity for us to get together, hang out, have goodies and have a good time.”

The macrame crafting event was created with the intent of helping students destress by making art while socializing in a low-pressure environment.

The Buddy Program also asked students to embrace their artistic side at their valentine crafting event, giving students and Walla Walla community members all the supplies they needed to make the perfect valentine.

Illustration by Holly VanVoorhis.

Junior and co-leader of the Buddy Program Nishtha Rajbhandari explained that the event was held in collaboration with the Walla Walla Valley Disability Network, and that by opening the event to all of campus, the club hoped more students would get the opportunity to build connections with the local nonprofit. 

“I hope they had a good bonding time. A lot of people came in groups, some came by themselves. I just hope they got to play around with their creativity and do something nice,” Rajbhandari said. “You don’t need to have a Valentine for [the event]. You could do something for a friend or yourself. I hope people got a chance to be crafty … and take a break from everything on campus.”

Sophomore and co-leader of the Buddy Program Dori Buttleman also emphasized the social aspect of the event, mentioning that the event gave many buddy pairs a chance to reconnect after not meeting in person for a while. 

“It was fun to see people seeing their buddies that they haven’t seen for a couple months reunite,” Buttleman said. 

Whitman’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) put a unique spin on the Valentine’s Day tradition of sending cards or bouquets to a loved one. Co-president of PPGA Kaitlynne Jensen explained that the funds raised from selling condom and dental dam bouquets will go towards the nonprofit Period Power Walla Walla and fund purchases of menstrual products to be donated.

“Planned Parenthood has a calendar they give to each Generation Action group, and on the calendar, it lets us know that the week of Valentine’s Day is also condoms week. So, we gave out condoms to campus in a more fun way. We wanted to make [the project] more inclusive, so we added dental dams,” Jensen said. 

Jensen explained that the fundraiser helped to reduce the stigma that surrounds purchasing or acquiring condoms and provided PPGA club members the opportunity to do some crafting while putting together over 60 bouquets to be sent out across campus. 

All of the clubs hosting events on Valentine’s Day stressed the importance of continuing engagement throughout the year. After Feb. 14, students can look forward to upcoming social events or reach out to any of the organizations to become directly involved. After all, the year-round love for Whitman’s vibrant community is part of what makes the college special.