The Dumke Center for Civic Engagement celebrated love Feb. 14 on Valentine’s Day with an emphasis on community through projects aimed at groups that are sometimes stigmatized or vulnerable, according to Sophie Caligiuri, a co-team lead for the Dumke community engagement team and senior philosophy major.
Incarcerated individuals, health care workers and Sarah Daft senior citizen residents are sometimes impacted by isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Caligiuri.
Caligiuri said her team decided on these groups for the Valentine letters service project because the holiday usually focuses on romance when there should also be commitment to community.
“When we were thinking about what we could do for the MLK celebration and Black History Month, we talked about Black activism and Black philosophical thought that has to do with community love,” Caligiuri said
Writing Valentine’s Day letters to these individuals is a way to talk about these different types of love that go beyond romantic relationships and highlight how love operates in the Westminster community, according to Caligiuri.
Mariah Trujillo, co-team lead for the Dumke community engagement team and junior environmental studies major, said they wanted to focus on building and bringing love to communities that are neglected or overlooked.
“It’s really hard for incarcerated individuals to have contact with communities outside of prison and there are so many barriers for getting in contact with them, so we are just letting them know there are people who support them,” Trujillo said.
The Dumke Center Valentine’s Day rock painting activity also celebrates MLK and community love by asking students to paint what revolutionary love looks like to them.
These rocks give everyone a chance to express themselves in a unique way and in a different way than words sometimes can, said Tyler Andersen, Dumke Civic Engagement communication team member and a junior environmental major.
“Students can participate by showing what love means to them because love of course has a different definition for everyone,” Andersen said.
Andersen said the Dumke Center will display the rocks painted from this service project as an art installation for the rest of February and into the beginning of March.