Last week on Valentine’s Day, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) from the class of 2024 delivered carnations to students across campus for the third annual Carnation Gram event. All carnations were free to send, but students had the opportunity to donate money to the Colby Mutual Aid Fund.
Members of the community wrote messages on small cards and sent them to a person of their choosing. Some sent declarations of love, funny messages to their friends, or words of appreciation to their professors. Although these cards provided a space to indicate the sender, students could send messages anonymously.
Junior class Co-Presidents Emerson Bracy `24 and Rory Hallowell `24 ordered 480 carnations, totaling $400 for the event. No limit was set on how many flowers students could choose to send. 220 flowers along with their individual messages were distributed to the dorms on campus and the Alfond Main Street Commons on Valentine’s Day by members of the SGA.
Nearly $100 was raised for the Colby Mutual Aid Fund, which raises funds for first-generation/ low-income students, LGBTQIA+ students, and BIPOC students. This event was first started and organized by former class president Kimanie Brown `24. It was originally open only to the Junior class but evolved to include the entire community.
Although the event ran smoothly, Bracy and Hallowell discussed some of the challenges they faced with The Colby Echo. The funding for the event comes directly out of the Class of 2024 class budget, and only a finite number of flowers could be ordered in order to set aside enough funding for future class-sponsored events, such as the Junior-Senior Soiree. The Class of 2024 Co-Presidents initially planned to order carnations in three different colors: white, pink, and red. These colors would correlate with whether the message was sent to a friend, a crush, or someone you loved. The cost, however, of ordering a variety of colors could not be accommodated by the predetermined budget.
Bracy and Hallowell settled on the color red, but the vendor supplying the carnations mistakenly included white carnations in the order. These flowers could not be delivered and were returned to increase the amount of available funding for future events.
“I think that [the event] was successful,” Bracy said “It is a community-building experience. Running the booth, I had the opportunity of seeing how engaged the student body became with developing personal messages for their classmates. We don’t say how much we appreciate those around us in everyday life, and this is an opportunity to express that.”
The SGA plans to continue this tradition and find other ways to collaborate with the Colby Mutual Aid Fund in the future. This event offered students the opportunity to show appreciation for members of the community and a space for students to donate funds that will support current and future students.
“I really love the carnation idea because not only do you get to do something thoughtful for your friends, but it also highlights the importance of The Mutual Aid Fund and encourages students to donate,” Sofia Solari `23 said. “Hopefully there can be more events like this that get students involved to support the campus community.”
SGA encourages students to donate to the Colby Mutual Aid Fund when they can or participate in other events to support the community, even without a designated fundraising event.
“I hope that people will think about donating after they receive their carnations,” Bracy reiterated. “The Mutual Aid [Fund] is an essential resource for many Colby Students as a way to receive financial support for many of the burdens of the semester.”
~ Maura Thompson `24