As Valentine’s Day celebrations picked up momentum last week among Slippery Rock students, it was difficult to avoid the buzzing, romantic crowds that littered campus. While hand-holding couples roamed the Student Center Ballroom in celebration of The University Programming Board’s fourth annual Valentine’s Day Event, single students who also wished to celebrate found love in Galentine’s Day.
Sponsored by the Women’s Center, students could participate in the holiday through a homemade, non-traditional, couple-free celebration of love and appreciation that Valentine’s Day normally excludes or minimizes.
The free event included a variety of activities like “mocktails,” music, friendship bracelets, buttons, personalized Valentines and AVI donated baked goods. A photo booth complete with Wonder Woman props was also included in the event.
Sara Naughton, a student employee at the Women’s Center explained the event saying, “It celebrates female friendship, especially because there’s negativity around Valentine’s Day every year so this is kind of the alternative for girls to celebrate their friendships with each other. Men are welcome too and can celebrate their gal friends as well.”
In fact many male students, including Dan Kaudwell and Khalil Harper, participated in the event after noticing the conglomeration of students celebrating Galentine’s Day—a name adopted from the popular sitcom, Parks and Recreation.
When asked about how he felt about Galentine’s Day and its spinoff from the romantic holiday, Harper replied that the event was “about empowering women and empowering single people.”
Kaudwell agreed, saying, “I completely support the Women’s Center. I’d like to see more activities and events. This all seems to be nice and everyone seems to be in the mood for it.”
Because the Women’s Center focuses on diversity, inclusion, expression and acceptance of all individuals, the organization strays from secular holidays.
“A large number of our events are centered around education and advocacy so a lot of our programming you’ll see are panels or discussions or guest speakers,” said Naughton. “Sometimes we’ll do things like this which is just fun, empowering programs. This is our second time doing [Galentine’s Day] and hopefully it continues.”
By incorporating other organizations like the Reflections Body Image Program, Chosen Generation Choir and Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator or SEA, the event not only increased participation but also brought awareness to a wide variety of causes.
By celebrating all relationships, especially between women and replacing the typical, commercial element of Valentine’s Day with stewardship and awareness, Galentine’s Day was definitely a sweet alternative.