By Abby Leyson ’22

Herald Contributor


With stay-at-home work occupying many people’s newfound lifestyles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the act of sharing love can be hard to find. Love is not as vividly seen as it once was before the pandemic as a result of public displays of affection dwindling due to social distancing.

To resolve this matter, Sarah Spears, William Smith ’23, took the initiative to establish a new student activity on the Hobart and William Smith campus: HWS Lovestruck.

“HWS Lovestruck would be an opportunity for anyone to give love to a person in a grand way!” Sarah Spears, William Smith ‘23

Sarah Spears, William Smith ‘23

HWS Lovestruck is a student activity with the goal of spreading love throughout campus between lovers and friends. It provides a service to students who want to give love to their partner in a relationship, or for friends to give love and appreciation to one another.

Spears was interviewed by The Live upon making her initiative for spreading love publicly known by creating an Instagram account for HWS students to follow the suspense of the prizes being offered through HWS Lovestruck.

“Not once have I seen a declaration of love,” Spears said to The Live. “Sure, it isn’t necessary to showcase your love for a person, but wouldn’t it be fun to know that love exists on this campus and that people aren’t afraid to show it?” 

The typical trope of a boy declaring his love for a girl in a thoughtful manner via music, dances, or a bouquet of flowers is the source of inspiration for Spears’ creation of HWS Lovestruck.

As Valentine’s Day approached in February, Spears and her peers found themselves conversing about love, specifically declarations of love, during their dinners in the student dining hall on campus.

“I know it exists!” Spears said when asked about what she thinks of love. “There has to be a boy on this campus that is hopefully in love with his girlfriend or a girl in love with her girlfriend … it doesn’t matter! I want to see more love around here, and if anyone is feeling bold, HWS Lovestruck would be an opportunity for anyone to give love to a person in a grand way!” 

Stella Jalai, William Smith ’22 and the Co-Vice President of HWS Lovestruck, elaborated on the inspiration for HWS Lovestruck.

“You know how in 10 Thing I Hate About You, Heath Ledger falls madly in love Julia Stiles only to screw up and then redeem himself?” Jalai asked. “The redemption aspect in the movie is the kind of energy we want to bring to the Colleges if one of the winners wants this for their idea for their special someone,” Jalai continued. “A full-blown dance mob with students getting to express themselves on a beautiful spring day would be ideal.”

Spears introduced the idea of HWS Lovestruck to the HWS Kinetic Dance Collective (previously known as HWS Koshare Dance Collective) to propose a partnership in case a winner requests for a dance number to surprise their partner or friend.

Spears suggested the idea of a few members from the Kinetic Dance Collective (KDC) to collaborate with HWS Lovestruck to perform a gesture of love outdoors once the weather begins to look up as spring approaches in Geneva.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing to walk out onto the quad after a long lecture and bam! Out of nowhere, dancers appear, music is blaring through the speakers, and someone is on the steps of Coxe singing a Michael Bublé song for their lover!” Spears exclaimed while explaining KDC’s role with HWS Lovestruck.

The KDC demonstrated interest in participating with HWS Lovestruck and agreed to work with the lucky winners from the raffle if they desire a dance to be choreographed for their declarations of love.

Shortly after the agreement with the KDC, Spears set up a meeting with Michael Kelly, the Student Activities Assistant, to finalize the approval of HWS Lovestruck.

Spears and Kelly met the following week. Spears received approval from Student Activities through Kelly, who granted $100 and equipment from IT Services at HWS.

There is not a surplus in funding for this new student activity on campus, but since love and the expression of love is the goal of HWS Lovestruck, Spears is hoping that each winner understands that this is not about providing chocolates in a basket for your significant other, but to give love back to those that love you.

Despite the student-led dance group being affiliated with HWS Lovestruck, there are no restrictions as to what the gestures of love can be.

“You can propose anything you would like so long that it is a public display of affection in some way,” Jalai said. “You could request for a picnic to be set up by the lake or on the quad, or you could go big and have the dance montage we have been advertising.”

All that is required is a submission via the Google Form provided on HWS Lovestruck’s Instagram. Students also had the chance to enter a raffle at the Lovestruck table in the Scandling Center on campus from March 17 to 24.  

Spears will randomly choose a group of winners after March 24. The winners will propose their ideas for their significant others to Spears, and her Lovestruck team and collaborate to see what they can do to give love back to the HWS community.

The idea is to keep this declaration of love a secret from the people the winners want to surprise in a sweet way, so that they are truly surprised and warmed to the heart from the gestures made by meaningful people in their lives.

Spears will be picking one winner from the Google Form and two or three raffle tickets from the in-person raffle. The in-person raffle submission is now closed, but the winners will be contacted soon by Spears with the contact information they provided in their raffle ticket.

Keep your eyes out as spring approaches at HWS, because love will soon be seen all around.

Featured image courtesy of Office of Communications.

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