Jay Vanparia/Contributing Writer
Forgetting to buy a gift for your Valentine is a blow to all the time and love you invested in your relationship. Luckily for FIU panther couples, the Phi Iota Alpha fraternity along with the Student Veterans of America came to the rescue: a fundraising event selling a variety of Valentine’s Day gifts.
The Student Veterans of America also accepted donations, along with membership applications from interested individuals. The event was held in the Graham Center pit, Feb. 11.
“We are basically trying to do a bit of fundraising for ourselves and getting everybody to interact socially”, said Israel Najarro, a member of the Phi Iota Alpha fraternity and a student veterans of America social chair.
“This does not happen very often that Greek culture and the veterans come together, so the event is a unique one”, he added. Interestingly, the Omega Phi Beta Sorority was also aiding the two organizations in order to boost the event.
The gift articles were pretty affordable, ranging from $10 to $25. The articles on sale were typically valentine material, and consisted of cute fuzzy teddy bears with roses in different sizes.
They were the kind of gifts your partner would immediately fall in love with. The fraternity had also organized an interactive activity to get to know new people. Two rows of chairs were arranged in opposite rows and people would sit randomly and get to know the person sitting across them.
Radoslav Buorov, a computer science junior said, “I really enjoyed the activity. It was a fresh concept and a great opportunity to meet some awesome people.”
The Phi Iota Alpha fraternity is one of the oldest Latino Fraternity, and was launched at FIU during the spring semester of 2011. The brothers of the fraternity are committed to conservation of the integrity of Latin American character.
The student veterans of America, who also contributed towards the success of this event, is an organizations which aims to provide military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.
Shane Vega, who is currently enlisted as a national guard and member of the student veterans of America, expressed how the organization help veterans returning from war assimilate into college life.
“When suffering with physical and mental wounds of war, a college degree can be a pretty elusive goal for people who return from military service. What the organization does is make that goal realistic,” said Vega.
The event saw numerous former members of both the fraternities and organizations reunite for a common cause. “This is just like old times. Actually when you look at it, it seems like a small reunion”, smirked Juan Hernandez, former president of Phi Iota Alpha.
Students walking by were impressed by the setup, especially due to the time of the event. Students, especially those living on-campus do not witness such events at night on a daily basis.
This event was a success due to the hard work and determination put forth by the participants and it is great to have such wonderful events uplift the panther spirit of students.