Parkland hosting Valentine’s festivities

Sierra Benson

Staff Writer

Parkland will be hosting a Valentine’s Day event complete with a dinner and other festivities, including a guest speaker, confections, and dancing.

A common misconception amongst students is that you need a significant other to enjoy the event, when in fact you can bring a group of friends or show up alone to meet someone new.

“One thing that you should know about the Valentine dinner and dance is that just because it’s a Valentine dinner does not mean you have to come with a partner,” Cuevas said. “We’ll have tables set up by the dance floor. It’s mainly just to socialize.”

The only stipulation is if a student were to invite one other guest who is not currently a Parkland student, they must have graduated high school.

According to Sandler, the goal for this event is to be fun while also educational.

“The office of student life chooses a speaker that will be really engaging to students while also being cool and contemporary,” Sandler said. “This is the second year that I’ve chosen the speaker and I’ve looked for speakers who really are able to talk to students…a practical speaker with outcomes you can definitely take and use as a student.”

Since it is held exclusively at Parkland, it will also be a safe environment,

“It’s obviously an alcohol free environment and so there’s no pressures or anything,” Sandler said. “Basically, it’s four hours to hang out at Parkland with your friends and make it what you want with free dinner and dessert.”

Dinner will be spaghetti, meatballs, and eggplant parmesan.

The speaker, Josie Ahlquist, who has traveled far and wide speaking on the topic of social media, explains why she thinks it plays an important role in the lives of college students.

“Unlike any other generation before, social media has the power to fuel your life in college and either to surge you on to your future goals after graduation or unfortunately hurt your reputation and possibilities the rest of your life,” Ahlquist said.

Ahlquist is future-minded and hopes to inspire educators to utilize social media and other technology in their classrooms, instead of being afraid or frustrated with it.

“I encourage educators to flip their fear and frustrated view of technology-slash-social media with youth to one of empathy and possibilities,” she said. “For example, I am a faculty member, so I integrate Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat into my courses…these tools aren’t perfect, but the more we openly explore our experiences with them, [they] will better prepare us for the future.”

Ahlquist has a rule to help anyone determine whether or not something should be posted online.

“My rule: if my grandma would call me about it, don’t post it,” Ahlquist said. “Maybe your grandma is cooler than mine, but for me that usually includes things like language, tone and attire.”

Her husband, Lloyd Ahlquist, is highly involved with the YouTube series “Epic Rap Battles of History,” which she will go further into depth about during her talk.

Tickets can be bought in student life from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, or in the U Wing Lounge from 11 AM to 2 PM, Tuesday through Friday. You must pay five dollars up front, but your money will be refunded to you when you attend the dance.

The Valentine’s Day dinner and dance will be held on Friday, Feb. 12, kicking off at 6 PM.

To learn more about guest speaker Josie Ahlquist, you can find her on Twitter @josieahlquist, Instagram @Josieahlquist, Snapchat at You can also check out her website at