Over the weekend, the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP) held their annual “Love Games” event in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) Multipurpose Room. For this year’s event, the organization decided to create their own version of the popular Netflix show “Love is Blind.”
“Love Games” is an annual fundraising event that JUMP holds in February to fundraise for their JUMP weekend, which takes place in March. Madyson Rodriguez, a member of JUMP’s co-mentoring committee and a sophomore majoring in linguistics, described the importance of this event and the organization’s JUMP weekend.
“We kind of just do this [dating game] during spring semester,” Rodriquez said. “Usually that’s what we’ve done in the past couple years in different types of ways. So we’ve had [a] horoscope version, ‘Love is Blind,’ last year we had ‘Love Island,’ things like that. Just to raise money for our four-day, paid, all-expense weekend in March. It’s JUMP weekend, where at-risk youth from the city come up to Binghamton University to get the college experience.”
Rodriguez continued on to explain the importance of JUMP and the organization’s events to the BU community.
“Honestly, it’s just for people of color to come together and have fun and just laugh — come together and have a really good time,” Rodriguez said.
The event itself started out with contestants lining up, with half of them blindfolded, to choose their partner for the game. After answering questions picked by the hosts of the game, the blindfolded contestants got to choose who they would compete with. The game was also interactive, with the audience getting to vote on who their favorite couple was each round.
With a mix of sweet and spicy questions, the contestants got to show off to both their partner and the audience. The games the couples participated in included acting out scenarios, passing index cards with their lips and dares, which gave the audience a chance to see every side of the prospective couples.
Paris Defreitas, one of the winning contestants and a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, explained what inspired her to participate in this event.
“Honestly, I just wanted to try something new,” Defreitas said. “I’ve never been in a show before, so I wanted to do that. I wanted to show my support for JUMP because they do a lot of good stuff for kids and representation — showing higher education, so that was something I wanted to do.”
The fun of the event wasn’t contained to just the show. Attendees were also able to hang out with friends and help themselves to complimentary refreshments, all for a good cause.
Samar Cuff, the co-fundraiser of JUMP and a sophomore double-majoring in psychology and global public health, went on to express the challenges that came from hosting this type of fundraising event.
“Finding funds to order all the food, getting decorations, I would say,” Cuff said. “Just getting that because most of our funds go to JUMP weekend so we try to spend as little as possible in expenses for this fundraiser, so I think that’s the most challenging.”
With a packed audience, the energy in the room was supportive toward both the event and JUMP’s initiatives. JUMP is currently looking for students to host one of the 100 kids coming from the city for its JUMP weekend in March. The “Love is Blind” event helped fill some of those hosting spots and raise a significant amount for this cause.