Students give free cookies for Valentine’s Day

Students sign a banner at the table where Abrahamian and Rowland handed out 1,000 cookies to spread positivity at Tech. // Photo by Sabrina Farley-Allen Student Publications

This Valentine’s Day, Jackets lined up on Tech Green for free cookies. Spread the Love at Tech baked 1,000 cookies to bring positivity and love to the Institute. Students received hand-packaged sweet treats with cute stickers and joyful notes to brighten their day.

Spread the Love is not a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at Tech; instead, it was an effort made by a few caring students who wanted to give back to their community. Jared Abrahamian, fifth-year ARCH, and Austin Rowland, fourth-year CMPE, began this venture on Valentine’s Day in 2023, where they managed to bake 500 cookies to give out for free on campus. 

“We have a lot of love to give, and it doesn’t just have to be for people in relationships. And so the whole idea was let’s just bake a ton of cookies and give them out, asking for nothing in return,” Abrahamian explained.

To further reach the hearts of the students at Tech, the two coordinators reached out to over 100 Jackets to help write positive messages for each cookie. However, Rowland said that his girlfriend Bethanie Penna, fourth-year IE, and Abrahamian wrote the majority. Within one and a half hours, students finished the cookies and signed the Spread the Love banner with a thousand names. Couples and singles alike walked away with big smiles.

“The reason I did it was to show other people that it doesn’t have to be this huge grandiose thing that you have to wait for the future to impact people’s lives, like you can go and do it right now,” Rowland said. Aside from bringing joy to the Tech community, their goal was to show other students that they don’t need much to make a big impact.

The origins of Spread the Love are heartwarming. Last year, Abrahamian and Rowland found themselves single for the first time on Valentine’s Day. On a whim, Abrahamian told Rowland that he had this “crazy idea” to bake a ton of cookies for all of the single Jackets at Tech. Instead of dismissing his idea, Rowland took it in stride, and the two became what he described as “ride-or-die” best friends. 

Their original plan was to bake 5,000 cookies, a monumental task for just the two of them. To succeed, they had to scale down. Between just the two of them, they managed to bake 500 cookies for 2023’s Valentine’s Day. This year, they enlisted the help of four more friends and doubled their count.

Reaching their goal was difficult, and the group faced challenges. They spent three sleepless nights focused on baking and prepping cookies for the event. Rowland recalled that they only had two ovens to bake the 1,000 cookies, so they had to plan ahead and start early. 

Additionally, they had 1,000 messages to write and package with each cookie. The two coordinators began calling friends for help, and they managed to bake all of the cookies on time. 

“So the stickers, we ordered them in advance, realized we sent them to the wrong address and overnight shipped them. They got here 30 minutes ago, before the event,” Abrahamian said. Through teamwork and determination, the duo were able to make it in time. Spread the Love was the result of over 100 hours of work. 

Their effort was not in vain, as many Jackets arrived at the event for the stickers. 

“I came because there was a Buzz sticker, and I always love Buzz stickers,” said Claudia Vitale, fourth-year ME. Students had great things to say about the custom stickers. 

Many Jackets agreed that Abrahamian and Rowland made a significant difference in their day. News of the event quickly spread throughout social media and group chats, which encouraged even more students to take a detour during their day to stop by the event. 

“I really wanted to come out and support it because of the positivity that they’re trying to spread, and it’s really cool how they’re doing this on Valentine’s Day for people that are single or cuffed,” said Josh Truong, second-year BA. 

Moreover, Rowland and Abrahamian have inspired Spread the Love events outside of the Institute. Other university students have taken note of the Spread the Love intiative and have reached out to the pair. According to Rowland, students from the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland have contacted them. 

“We’re hoping to turn this into a kindness movement that people can pick up, and most importantly we’re really hoping to see it survive here at GT because both of us graduate. We would love nothing more than to at least have a couple of those, you know, 1000 people that we saw this year get inspired by us and want to continue it next year,” Rowland said on the future of the initiative. 

Whether a Jacket showed up for a homemade cookie, a cute Buzz-themes sticker, a heartfelt message or just happened to be passing by the booth, everyone walked away beaming.