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Dumke Center for Civic Engagement highlights revolutionary community love through Valentine’s Day service projects

Sophie Caligiuri and Mariah Trujillo with masks stand in front of a table with a rainbow tablecloth and painted rocks.
Sophie Caligiuri, senior philosophy major and Mariah Trujillo, junior environmental studies major, who are co-team leads for the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement community engagement team, stand in front of the rock decorating table in Bassis Student Center Feb. 14 “The idea [of this project] is being able to have a revolution or come together as a community with the aspect of love,” Caligiuri said. Photo courtesy of Rylee Brown. Image description: Sophie and Mariah stand with masks on in front of a table displayed with painted rocks and a rainbow table cloth.

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. 

Tyler Andersen, Dumke Center for Civic Engagement communication team member and a junior environmental major, hosts the rock painting table in Bassis Student Center Feb. 14. Sheila Yorkin, chief marketing officer, paints a rock showing what revolutionary love looks like to them in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s revolutionary love. Photo courtesy of Rylee Brown. Image description: A woman bends over a table painting a rock with a man sitting down behind the table.

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.

A bowl of handwritten Valentine’s Day letters for incarcerated individuals sits on a table in Bassis Student Center  February 14. Mariah Trujillo, co-team lead for the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement community engagement team and a junior environmental studies major, said they want to extend community support to these individuals this holiday. Photo courtesy of Rylee Brown. Image description: A bowl of colorful letters sits on a table.

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Rylee Brown(she/hers) is a communication major with a minor in Spanish. She loves spending time with her siblings, playing board games with her fiance, and traveling whenever she can.

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