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Is UConn's campus lacking in Valentine's Day traditions?

By Emily Lewson
On February 13, 2014


No matter how you feel about Valentine's Day, it has arrived once again. The National Retail Federation estimates that $17.3 billion will be spent on gifts this year. Interestingly enough, Valentine's Day may increase revenue into the U.S. economy but is based on uncertain legend and lacks tradition, especially here at UConn.
When researching Valentine's Day origins, there is no decided history. The most popular story is that St. Valentine was in jail when he fell in love with the jailor's daughter. He wrote a letter to her and signed it "From your Valentine." Since then, the tradition has transformed into today's holiday.
At UConn, Valentine's Day does not live up to its full potential. Back in 1880, Charles and Augustus Storrs donated 170 acres of land to start the agricultural school that would become UConn. But there is no information as to whether either of the two was ever married; so even the founders of our university had lives without true love. Moreover, when UConn was an all boys school, there was no records of any Valentine's Day traditions, dances or love stories.
Today, UConn hardly celebrates the fourteenth of February. The Union sells some heart-shaped rice krispies and Insomnia Cookies gives a deal for a cookie cake. That's about it.
Is the weather too cold for Storrs to celebrate the holiday of love? Does the wind deter individuals from leaving the warmth of their rooms? I hope not. Rather, the ice-covered sidewalks should be a flying leap for people to fall - literally - in love.
While the Valentine's Day spirit is certainly lacking in UConn traditions, our school has produced some great love stories.
Holly Chase, a second semester ACES student, is the daughter of two UConn sweethearts. Mom was an '85 graduate and played flute; dad was an '83 graduate and played percussion. As the story goes, they met in marching band, Mr. Chase proposed on Valentine's Day a few years later and the two have been married for 26 years.
Kimmy Stankus, a fourth semester psych and HDFS major, is also the daughter of two UConn lovebirds. In fact, her dad and his best friend both met the loves of their lives in a South Campus residence hall. Her mom and her proclaimed aunt lived next door to each other, as did the two men a floor up. Since that fateful time, three of their children have attended or are attending UConn, perhaps continuing the romantic story of their parents.
As to a school wide tradition, perhaps its time we began something new. Harvard University has "Stacks Smooching," where sweethearts mingle in the back of Widener Library. Since the 1800s, a full moon at Stanford University entices couples to the quad for a kissing fest.
Why doesn't UConn have any of these traditions? The recently constructed Sundial Garden seems like just the spot for new love to bloom. Or what about the swings at Mirror Lake? It is nonsensical for a school so large and so distinct to have such a short history pertaining to Valentine's Day and romance. Time to make a change and spread some Valentine's Day love.

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