Honors program gears up for Valentine flower sale

Fundraiser for John Fallon Travel Fund provides scholarships for students

Written By Sara Cronin, For The Globe

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, the Honors Program is preparing for another successful flower delivery fundraising event. This year’s event will mark the program’s seventh year of delivering decorated bouquets and flowers throughout the downtown area.

The Honors Program partners with Blumengarten, a local florist in the Strip District owned and operated by the Ludwig family, according to the director of the Honors Program, Helen Fallon.

Autumn Barszczowski, the Honors Student Organization president, said that students in both the School of Communications and the Honors Program will help the florist with their long lists of deliveries on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There will be all kinds of vans and cars that will pull up to bring in these long cardboard boxes full of flowers for different people in the downtown area,” Barszczowski said.

Barszczowski is a senior public relations and advertising major. This year’s flower delivery fundraiser event will be her fourth and final one.

“You’ll see a bunch of crazy people running around Lawrence Hall with red bins and huge bouquets,” Barszczowski said.

Fallon explained that the students earn around $5.50 on each delivery they make. The flower delivery fundraiser averages a total of $1,500 collectively each year.

All of the proceeds raised from the deliveries go directly into the John Fallon Travel Fund, which helps cover costs for students in the School of Communications and the Honors Program to travel both nationally and internationally to destinations like New York City and Italy.

The John Fallon Fund was created in 2008 in honor and memory of Fallon’s husband, John an ardent traveler.

“He had been to 48 states and just traveled all of the time,” Fallon said. “His family went everywhere. I don’t think there was a continent, well maybe Antarctica, that they didn’t touch.”

Students in the School of Communications and the Honors Program can apply for the funds to help reduce costs on either the Washington D.C. trip, the alternative spring break trip, or for the overseas trip with the international media class.

President-elect of the Honors Student Organization and junior public relations and advertising major, Kelsey Wolfe, was able to go on the international media’s trip to Italy last spring semester. Wolfe helped deliver flowers all day last year for her trip, and is going to continue to raise money for the fundraiser again this year.

According to Wolfe, they visited five cities across Italy during last year’s trip.

“You take the class throughout the semester and it prepares you for the trip, but the bulk of the work you do is on the trip,” Wolfe said. “You’re going to media hubs, news outlets, PR centers, all these different locations to kind of get a gist of how they do their media whether that’s broadcasting or print. It was fantastic. It was honestly the best two weeks I could have asked for.”

The Valentine’s Day delivery fundraiser is not the only fundraiser the Honors Program holds throughout the year to raise money for the John Fallon Travel Fund. They also hold fundraising events such as the Wigle Whiskey fundraiser, where the distillery location in the Strip District allows 12 percent of all the proceeds from the evening to go towards the fund.

Fallon explained that they were able to give out $16,000 in scholarships last year alone from the money raised by all of the fundraisers.

“Last year the trip [to Italy] was $4,000, and I received a $1,000 scholarship on top of that. I only paid $3,000 something to travel for two weeks,” Wolfe said.

Fallon heads the effort to provide traveling opportunities to students.

“[Fallon] definitely works all year to raise the money to be able to allow students to travel,” Wolfe said. “It’s an impressive thing and I don’t know if a lot of people could do it without those kind of scholarships because as college students, you never really get the chance to do something like this because it is expensive and with her putting her all into it, it’s allowing us to kind of take some of that financial burden off of it.”

“Myself, I never had the money or the time to study abroad when I was a young person,” Fallon said. “So my first overseas trip was in 2008 in London with my students.”

The John Fallon Travel Fund has and will continue to give students the opportunity to travel around the world.

“I’d like to think that he would be very proud of us for continuing this and going on,” Fallon said.

Fallon explained although there are other fundraisers the Honors Program puts together during the year, the Valentine’s Day flower delivery fundraiser is special for her.

“It’s not only helping the florists who are marvelous people,” Fallon said. “They came to our aid when we weren’t doing the other fundraisers, but it also gives students an opportunity in between classes, or all day if they can arrange it, a way to pay it forward.”