Fay Harris (R) takes a photo of Jade Lollis (L) and Rebecca Kirkland at SF State’s Quad on Valentines Day on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. (Benjamin Fanjoy / Golden Gate Xpress) (Benjamin Fanjoy)
Fay Harris (R) takes a photo of Jade Lollis (L) and Rebecca Kirkland at SF State’s Quad on Valentines Day on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. (Benjamin Fanjoy / Golden Gate Xpress)

Benjamin Fanjoy

Romance review: Valentine’s Day vignettes of SF State

Campus was once a hotbed for romance, so where have all the lovers gone? (And where you can go to find them)

February 14, 2023

Valentine’s Day can often bring excitement or dread depending on your mindset and relationship status.  Before the pandemic, SF State served as a viable source for single people to find a romantic connection. 

With a diverse student body and an expansive list of campus events, the chance for a “meet-cute” college love story seemed more than likely, but according to data collected from SF State’s Office of Institutional Research, attendance has dropped 13% from Fall semesters 2019 to 2022. 

Many of the students at SF State already in relationships come from outside the San Francisco area, so long distance relationships become an added stressor. Amid the dearth of students and opportunities, one can find romance if they keep their eyes and heart open.

“I love love and romance,” 21-year-old senior Marketing major Beyoncé Rivera said. “I think it should be a completely organic thing.” 

Rivera found her love during a study abroad semester in Korea in the fall of 2021. She met her boyfriend, Ji Won, through some friends, and though at first they only hung around each other in a group setting, she started to realize just how much her new friend meant to her. 

“I saw just how much thought went into him being such a nice person,” Rivera said. “All my biggest fears didn’t feel so bad when I talked to him about them.” 

Though the couple have to navigate the difficulties of a 17-hour time difference, they keep their relationship strong by setting aside time for each other by dedicating the weekends to FaceTiming so they can catch up on what they‘ve been up to.

Makena Rutis is a senior majoring in Communication and Liberal Studies. She is also a campus ambassador for the dating, friendship and business connection app Bumble. Rutis, 21, has been in a four-year relationship with her high school sweetheart Kevin. While she’s attending SF State, Kevin lives in Davis — and she happens to like it that way. 

“I think it’s perfect because I’m not a romantic person at all,” Rutis said. “I really just see him as my best friend that I can kiss.” 

Though she doesn’t speak on Bumble’s behalf, Rutis says that in her experience, those who participate in Greek life “tend to couple up a lot.” 

Alesandra Ortega, 18-year-old freshman majoring in Computer Science and a member of the Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority, can confirm. Ortega says that participating in Greek life brings a lot of opportunities to meet people because of all the planned events with other sororities and fraternities, often to the stress of her long-distance boyfriend, Angel.

“I have to communicate a lot about what I’m doing,” Ortega said. “I’m definitely the more outgoing one, so I have to keep him updated all the time.” 

Historically, the global commercialization of Valentine’s Day is one that depicts the importance of diamonds and roses and social media recognition for and from your significant other. But for the singles out there, the day shouldn’t be an example of what society deems as love and romance.

 In recent years, the idea of “Galentine’s Day,” the female-bonding focused equivalent to the romantic holiday, celebrated on Feb. 13,  became popularized by the NBC show “Parks and Recreation.

The love shared between friends is just as beautiful as any romantic love, and most important is the love one has for oneself.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Anessa Bailon
Anessa Bailon, Staff Reporter
Anessa Bailon is the Campus Recreation reporter for the Golden Gate Xpress newspaper. She is majoring in Print and Online Journalism and minoring in Classics. She was raised in Soledad, California, but moved to San Francisco in 2013 to pursue her lifelong dream of a career in sports journalism. Her favorite sport is baseball, and when she has time to go to the ballpark, her scorebook is always in hand. Anessa also enjoys playing her banjo, dancing to hardcore techno music, collecting vinyl records and hearing a good joke.
Photo of Benjamin Fanjoy
Benjamin Fanjoy, Staff Photographer
Benjamin Fanjoy is a San Francisco-based photojournalist. Originally from Maryland, Benjamin moved to San Francisco in the summer of 2018 after completing his five-and-one-half year enlistment in the United States Coast Guard. He is currently studying Journalism (concentrating on Photojournalism) with a minor in Political Science at San Francisco State University. Benjamin has photographed social justice movements of historical relevance including Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, Abolish ICE, the wildfires in Northern California, San Francisco's response to Covid-19, and the immigration surge at the Tijuana-San Ysidro Port of Entry in Mexico. Benjamin has worked with The Associated Press, Bloomberg, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Standard, El Tecolote and Golden Gate Xpress.

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