Peek into past Valentine’s Day celebrations at CSU


Collegian | Trin Bonner

(Graphic Illustration by Trin Bonner | The Collegian)

Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief

With Valentine’s Day next week and the “Sweetheart City” close by, right now is the perfect time to celebrate love — or chocolate. 

Some people may choose to celebrate friendship over a romantic relationship while some may mourn their past partners. Others just like the pink hearts and candy, and many prefer to bemoan the commercialization and empty gestures that may accompany Feb. 14.


No matter what Valentine’s Day means to someone, Colorado State University students have always found their own ways to observe it. Take a look back at past Rams before looking to the future, whether Feb. 14 is just a random Tuesday or a special day you’ll remember forever.

All about flowers

Flowers and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand like, well, flowers in a hand. 

In an image found in the Colorado Flower Growers Association Records from 1954, two people are working on a “giant valentine heart of Colorado carnations,” with the heart display nearly as tall as the people working on it. 

Although roses are the most commonly seen symbol of Valentine’s Day love, carnations also symbolize fascination and “female love,” according to the Farmers’ Almanac. Pink carnations specifically send a message that says, “I’ll never forget you.”

In the Feb. 22, 1940, society page of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Lorna Braland Lee wrote, “Sorority houses were almost mistaken for flower shops when Saint Valentine finally decided to call it a day.” 

Students today don’t have to break the bank with a dozen roses or even use flowers to express romantic love. The Farmers’ Almanac details the symbolism of all flower varieties, which include messages of affection, happiness and friendship. Because fresh, cheap flowers can be hard to come by in February, consider drawing flowers on a card or sending a virtual bouquet. 

Lots of love, lots of letters

In 1958 Collegian reporter Nancy Allen wrote that the Home Ec club would be sending out Valentine’s Day telegrams to students in “organized houses or dorms on the campus” for 10 cents. A photo accompanying the story depicts two 5-year-olds with a letter stamped from the “Sweetheart City” — Fort Collins’ neighbor, Loveland, Colorado.

The Collegian wrote, “Many CSU students have availed themselves of the Loveland post office service.” 

Loveland’s Valentine Re-mailing Program is “the largest of its kind in the nation,” according to the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. The program allows people from all over the world to send valentine cards to the city to be postmarked from Loveland and sent to the intended recipient.


While it’s too late for most valentines to be postmarked and received by Valentine’s Day, valentines being mailed in-state can be dropped off at different locations in Loveland through Feb. 9. 

Dancing around campus

Valentine’s Day dances were once extremely popular for CSU’s Greek life chapters, with Collegian papers from 1916, 1929, 1934 and 1949 all touting some version of a valentine or sweetheart dance announcement. 

In 1949 a Collegian reporter previewed Sigma Chi’s “best ever” Sweetheart Dance, writing, “Dancing silhouettes of sweethearts will adorn the ballroom walls for this annual affair.” 

Even without an invite to a decadent bash, current CSU students can check out other opportunities for dancing around Fort Collins. The CSU Swing Dance Society’s next meeting will be Feb. 15, and Avogadro’s Number is hosting a Valentines Dance with live music from Persuasion on Saturday, Feb. 11. 

Reach Serena Bettis at or on Twitter @serenaroseb.