Hearts were on sleeves and inside stuffed bears at a Castleton Campus Activities Board event that drew over 150 students on Feb. 12 – just before Valentine’s Day. The event, a “Stuff Your Own” stuffed animal night, proved to be one of the most popular events that the board has held since the pandemic first upended campus life.
“It was just before Valentine’s Day, so I think a lot of people came in to make gifts,” said CAB member Sierra Boutin.
Boutin, a fourth-year social work major, and fellow member Adsel Sparrow, stood helping a small crowd of students plant personal succulents, flowers and vegetables at a more recent “Plant Your Own Garden” event.
They both agreed the crowd was larger than any members expected – even for an open event .
“For the most part, [the events] have either been by reservation or first come, first serve. We expect more people at programs like these, but tonight we’ve only had maybe 20 or 30 people,” said Sparrow, a multidisciplinary studies major and first-year student. “You really never know.”
Already halfway over, Boutin mentioned the night’s gardening event likely wouldn’t draw too many more students. The relaxed energy of it all didn’t seem to bother any members, most of whom happily chatted and joked with those who stopped by.
CAB Chairman Adam Murray says these low-key activities are something he’s been trying to increasingly incorporate into this year’s event list. With COVID restrictions, he said, the board has shifted its events to more pandemic-friendly options.
“They really like being able to pop in and out at these things. It’s low-energy and there are no expectations. Plus, people really like free stuff,” Murray joked.
Murray hopes more individuals will take advantage of nights like these as the semester goes on, but he admitted that publicizing these events can sometimes be difficult.
“People were complaining that I was sending too many emails and now some people are complaining they don’t know where to find our information,” said Murray. “So, I’ve sent an email at the beginning and end of the week and put everything in ‘Sparty Says’ as well.”
Despite occasional complaints of email bombardment, students clearly enjoy the opportunities that CAB provides to get away from pandemic fatigue.
“I made a heart that said ‘XOXO’ and a bear. I gave my mom the heart and still have the bear in my room,” said CAB member and event participant, Lauren Carter. “It was super Valentine-sy and really fun.”