Feb. 15, 2017
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve spent Valentine’s Day? I’m guessing it would be tough to beat a heart-themed dinner for three in Bangladesh. But four years ago, that’s exactly where I spent mine. I was on the road with colleagues working on a research story in Bangladesh. For us, it was just another day. For the city of Dhaka, it was the most romantic day of the year.
We had come back to our hotel after working all day to tell an important MSU research story. We were tired. We were grubby. And man, we were hungry. Unfortunately, the entire hotel had gone Valentine’s Day crazy. A balloon arch wavered over the metal detectors at the entrance. A cheesy soundtrack of love songs from the 70s and 80s whispered in the air — it consisted only of eight songs played on a loop. Decorations were everywhere. A heart carved out of ice, that I assume was supposed to be dyed red, was melting, making it look like it was bleeding.
We just wanted a sandwich. But, all the food service had shut down, except the special Valentine’s Day romantic dinner. With rumbling bellies and sheepish looks, we sauntered up and asked for a table — for three. The looks we got said that we were definitely being judged. Everything they served was in the shape of a heart. They gave us a special drink. In the end, with love being celebrated by couples all around us, the three of us hungrily ate our food and toasted our respective spouses back home.
This year, it seems like the world needs to celebrate love a lot more. There’s an awful lot of anger and hate being bandied about – especially online. Just scroll through any comment section and you’re almost sure to find people arguing with each other.
Bill Hart-Davidson, professor of writing, rhetoric and American cultures and associate dean for graduate education for the College of Arts and Letters, is part of a project that aims to help. Check out his FACULTY VOICE: Don't read the comments, to learn about the Faciloscope and how it’s used to analyze online conversations on hot-button topics.
One thing that’s great about Spartans, is that we’re open to learning about the different sides of difficult topics. Spartans get out in the world, listen to others, experience new things, appreciate differences and share their perspectives.
Micaela Procopio is a senior majoring in history and minoring in Jewish studies and museum studies. Like all good Spartans, she has a thirst for knowledge and adventure. Recently, she was selected as just one of 33 students nationwide to participate in a student leadership trip to Israel. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Be a voice, to learn about her life changing experience.
Micaela says, “MSU has given me a glimpse into so many amazing people and opportunities that exist.” That’s what MSU is all about — opportunities. There are endless paths for students to take for learning and success. There are never-ending partnerships and opportunities for researchers to study the world and find solutions to the most challenging problems.
Being a Spartan means taking bold risks that lead to triumph. It might mean traveling abroad to gain a better understanding of the world around you. It might mean creating something that makes life better for others. It might mean having an awkward dinner in a strange place to be able to show others the important work Spartans are doing all over the globe. No matter the opportunity, we step up and grab it. We're Spartans — we love a good challenge. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner