On February 10, International Student Services and the World Student Organization hosted a Valentine’s Day event titled “Love Makes the World Go Round.” For two hours in the Affinity Commons room, students both international and domestic shared in Valentine’s Day themed activities while learning about how countries around the world celebrate the holiday.
Tables were set up around the room with summaries of different countries’ traditions for Valentine’s Day, and activities were available for students to try and mirror those customs.
For example, in Denmark, men write poetry and secret love notes for their Valentines. However, in lieu of their names, only a series of dots are left at the bottom of the page. This keeps the holiday a fun and festive secret, leaving women swooning over their possible secret admirers. Cards, stickers and colored pencils were at the table so participants could write love notes of their own.
In Finland, Valentine’s Day is a day centered on platonic love of friends more than romantic love. At the Finnish table, various colors of threads were provided for participants to create their own one-of-a-kind friendship bracelet to share with their friends on Valentine’s Day.
Other activities mirrored the theme of Valentine’s Day as well, such as making paper roses or friendship goody bags.
Amidst the fun of the activities, the ultimate goal of this event was to promote the sharing of culture from country to country. Students who participated in the event got to compare and contrast Valentine’s Day in America with the traditions of other countries.
Omega Hollies, the head of International Services and the co-creator of this event, summed the goal of the event up to finding a safe, non-judgmental space where both international students and domestic students can come, have fun and share culture in a light- hearted way.
Events like the one held this week is just one example of how Ohio Northern’s campus comes together to celebrate diversity. WSO Co-President Khadijah Bagais said college events like this Valentine’s Day program are a great way to increase student awareness of the world and themselves as an individual.
“A great aspect about being in college is that there are so many different things that you can take advantage of and explore before we have to get into the world of being mature. Through events held on campus in a fun, informal way we can broaden our horizons [and] discover things about others, but also about ourselves,” Bagais said.
International Student Services and the WSO are continuing their shared goal of bridging gaps between cultures on April 10 with their annual Multicultural fair. The fair is the biggest international event of the year, complete with food, activities and performances representing cultures from around the world.