In a slumping economy, Valentines find a way

By and
Friday, February 13, 2009

It’s that time of year again.

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year and warm weather forecast, many Brown students are planning trips to spend the day with friends or significant others, even if it means dipping into their wallets. It may be a little tougher this year with the country in a deep economic recession, but Brown students aren’t letting that put a damper on their plans.

“I’m taking my girlfriend to Boston to spend a weekend together,” said Jonathan Liu MD’12. “I can splurge for one day and save for the rest of the year.”

Brent Lunghino ’12 even purchased round-trip plane tickets for his date to fly in for the weekend.

But after buying a plane ticket, he’s not looking to spend much more on gifts or festivities. His weekend dining plans are more likely to include the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall – which, as always, is decorated for the occasion – than a night out at Al Forno. Maybe even a Valentine’s Ratty sundae – with two spoons.

Alexander Gard-Murray ’09 said he and his date will “probably go out to dinner,” he said, adding that they are “trying to figure out a movie to see.”

College students, he said, may naturally find it easier to enjoy Valentine’s Day when money is tight. “It might be easier for college students, because the line between fancy and not fancy is thinner,” he said.

Others have already dipped into their pockets for a small pre-Valentine’s treat.

Starbucks is brewing its Caffe Verona – a “seductive blend of beans” – and the lovers of Thayer Street are drinking it right up.

A pair of coffee canoodlers, Joe Forgione and Amanda Blanchard, shared a cup at a table for two last night.

The couple met in March at a Gore Mountain mogul skiing competition. Joined by a mutual love for skiing and coffee, the pair hit it off immediately.

Forgione, who confessed to drinking “hundreds of gallons” of coffee every year, lives in New Jersey. He drives up to Providence every weekend to see Blanchard, and the pair go north to ski.

But for some Brunonians, the holiday isn’t just for romance.

Evan Sumortin ’12 intends to go up to Boston with a group of about five friends, with plans to spend the day shopping and maybe enjoying dinner at a restaurant. And Manuel Lam MD’09 plans to spend tomorrow catching up with his younger brother.

“I feel the holiday itself is a special time,” he said. “It should involve a special relationship.”

­ – With additional reporting by Mitra Anoushiravani

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