Campaign seeks to redefine holiday by bringing attention to mental health, creating an inclusive space for students.
From Feb. 8 through Feb. 12, the Aggie Reuse Store will be hosting the Spread the Love Campaign, a Valentine’s Day event designed to bring awareness to mental health issues and encourage support among students and their peers.
Nicole Garcia, a second-year computer science and engineering major and director at the Reuse Store, hopes that the campaign can help students look at the holiday differently this time of year.
“The Spread the Love Campaign is designed to redefine what Valentine’s Day means and return it to its more positive virtues,” Garcia said in an e-mail interview. “It can be an exclusive and toxic time for many people who don’t fit a specific cliche as dictated by society. Spread the Love is designed to change the season into one of inclusiveness, appreciation, validation, recognition and more.”
The event, which will be held at the ASUCD Coffee House, is set to hold a number of activities throughout the week, including Valentine gram giveaways with prizes from various mental health groups and love-themed crafts from the store. Additionally, the event will host a social media contest to win a Valentine’s Day-themed prize bag of handmade items, and a three-day Valentine’s sale from Feb. 10 through 12 at the Reuse Store.
The campaign will have canvases set up where students are encouraged to think about someone that they love and write about the reasons for loving them.
“We often don’t take the time to reflect on the reasons why we love others and why we as individuals are special to others in our lives. It’s important we don’t overlook our capacity to actively campaign and spread the love to those in our lives,” Garcia said in the e-mail. “Make a gesture and give a manifestation of that appreciation and love. It could be anything, like a gift, a note or a meaningful conversation. The purpose is to convey your sentiments in a way that is genuine and sincere.”
Sarah Hahn, a director at Student Health and Counseling Services, said that she is impressed by the campaign and its goals in bringing awareness to mental health.
“We absolutely applaud [the campaign] because mental health is such an important issue for so many reasons,” Hahn said. “What we need to do is create this culture of caring throughout the university — where people are inspired to take care of each other, listen to each other, appreciate each other just like people are encouraged to do in this campaign. And through those connections, people can learn when their peers are hurting and when they need help.”
Garcia also talked about the stress that many students feel in the middle of the quarter. As many begin to focus more on their school work, she also encourages students to look out for one another.
“As a student, this especially becomes important, since we’re in a highly stressful and difficult time in our lives. It’s hard to escape the negative feelings when we’re constantly barraged with stress, lack of sleep, pressure to succeed and much more,” Garcia said in the e-mail. “Therefore, we should never doubt the power and importance of supporting others around us through these difficult times and beyond.”
As a first-year mathematics major, Phillip Van notes the importance of having a space for students to feel included.
“Having a community to be a part of, I think, is very important because you have someplace where you can belong and a place to go so you don’t have to feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to,” Van said. “Everybody usually just keeps to themselves so having this open hand is nice to give people a chance to open up and have a safe environment.”
The event is free and will be open to all. For more information, visit the Spread the Love Campaign’s Facebook page.
Written by: Ivan Valenzuela – email@example.com