Valentine’s Day — a once religious holiday known today for commercial chaos, the culmination of “cuffing” season, or more traditionally, the celebration of love, is officially here. While couples craft cheesy couplets and cook candle-lit dinners, others opt to indulge in sweets and self-care in solitude. The day of love takes on a different meaning for every person, and what better place to survey the diverse range of old and new traditions than an urban college campus?
In the spirit of Eros, the Greek term for passionate love, some Drexel University students revel in the romance of the holiday.
A freshman finance major, Marissa Lux eagerly awaits the arrival of her boyfriend, Andy, who attends New York University. Marissa and Andy take turns visiting each other in their respective cities during the holidays, and on Valentine’s Day the couple plans to dine at a Korean restaurant and later exchange gifts. Jonathan Andersson, a freshman environmental engineer, also intends to celebrate the holiday over a romantic dinner; however, the reservation is slated for the following weekend as Jono participates in Drexel’s rowing team in addition to shouldering a full course load.
As the young couples of Drexel traverse the city’s restaurants and attractions, other students celebrate the loyal bond of friendship, or Philia. Maeve Zeleniak, a second-year communications and journalism major, shares that she and her sorority sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha have reserved a “Galentine’s Day” brunch at nearby French-American restaurant Louie Louie for Saturday the 18th.
“Valentine’s Day falls smack in the middle of the term and the week,” states Maeve when explaining why she pushed celebrations to the weekend, speaking on behalf of all Drexel students currently trudging through midterms in a whirlwind quarter system.
Despite overburdened schedules, some students like Micheal Catell will take a break from the books for the evening. A senior biology major, Michael and his single roommates plan to cook a home-made dinner. Each roommate is responsible for a course of the elaborate meal— a fitting celebration for Valentine’s Day and the conclusion of midterms.
Another population of students, jaded to the festivities of Valentine’s Day, make few changes to their day-to-day routine.
Faith Cruz, a second-year mechanical engineer, believes that “[Valentine’s Day] is a cute occasion for couples, but at the end of the day, just another commercialized holiday.”
In the name of Philautia, or self-love, Faith will still consider buying herself chocolate during the Valentine’s Day sales. “I will always find an excuse for self-care,” she explains.
Other students celebrate Storge, or familial love, on this annual fête. A first-year architect, Ava Cona will pause her strenuous schedule for a family ski trip to Vail, Colorado. In the meantime, she spends extra hours in the studio so she can be present during her wintry vacation.
Another freshman student and interior design major, Yesenia Zavala-Jimenez recounts the annual pot-luck her family hosts. Adorned with red and pink decorations, the festive party serves as the “perfect reason to come together,” says Yesenia. Although she will not likely attend this year’s gathering due to school demands, Yesenia optimistically asserts that there will be “other family events around the corner.”
Whether Drexel students choose to honor Eros, Philia, Philautia, or Storge, let us remind ourselves to celebrate love in its many forms every day. Agape, the Greek term for love of humankind, is too often forgotten, even though it would best serve us to remember. On this annual day of love, indulge in the clichés or forge new traditions, but do not leave generosity behind in the days to come. Spread love every day — not necessarily with heart-shaped chocolates and candle-lit dinners — but with a well-meaning word, an empathetic ear or a good gesture.