Valentine’s Day event incites care and charity

By Cory Ray, @coryray_DE

While some celebrate Valentine’s Day with their significant other, one fraternity on campus says people don’t have to have that special someone to feel special.

Kappa Alpha Psi’s “Kater to You” on Saturday evening not only made others feel special but also gave to those in need.

The fraternity collected 30 cases for the water crisis in Flint, Mich., continuing efforts it began doing about a month ago. Even though the event was free and open to the public, the fraternity asked people to donate water or money to aid those in Flint. 

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Fraternity president Kevin Gettis, a senior from Belleville studying history, said it has shipped about 50 cases of water to Flint so far. The crisis in Flint began when the city switched its water source from Detriot to the Flint River. Since then, high amounts of lead have been found in the contaminated water, which is the prime suspect in an outbreak of a form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ Disease.

“You’ve got to think, people have to cleanse themselves with bottles of water,” said fraternity alumnus Ryan Reed, a graduate student from Flossmoor working toward his certification to become an alcohol and drug abuse counselor. “Just imagine standing in the shower and having to pour water on yourself. It’s very sad and disheartening.”

In addition to donating to Flint, the fraternity provided guests at the event with a variety of stations to make them feel special. The event included manicures, makeovers, eyelash and eyebrow arching stations and a DJ.

About 150 people showed up to enjoy the efforts.

“If they’re upset, if they’re stressed with school, if there’s anything going on, it’s not just about having someone,” said Gettis, president of the Undergraduate Student Government. “It’s just giving them a day to be taken care of, to be shown that they’re appreciated.”

Reed said the event began as a way to let women in the community know they are special.

“Thinking of those that may be single or may be struggling in relationships or simply just want to come out and enjoy an event that might make it so they don’t have to do all these things,” Reed said. “Valentine’s Day can be a very miserable holiday for people.”

He said people shouldn’t believe they have to receive gifts from someone to be considered valuable or special. He said he hopes his fraternity and the event can show people Valentine’s Day is about showing kindness to others.

“A lot of times, we come from a society that feels as though the only way you deserve things is if you get something,” Reed said. “That’s gone into the rape culture idea. We want to remind women that’s not true at all.”

While many guests spent the night receiving massages and eyebrow arching from fraternity members, others came for the atmosphere to talk and spend time with friends. 

As Kayla Craig, a sophomore from Chicago studying psychology, put it: “I think it’s really nice. It makes people that are single feel a part of Valentine’s day, so they don’t have to feel down on the holiday.”

Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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