By Bernice Halili
Valentine’s in August (VIA) is the longest-running project of the Ateneo Economics Association, having been around for more than 30 years. As the name suggests, VIA is an annual bazaar that takes place in August. As per tradition, large quantities of roses are sold during this week-long event, which seeks to create an artificial demand for the essential Valentine’s day gift, six months prior to the occasion, when the prices of roses are at their lowest. Like all business ventures, the principle behind this is to maximize profits while minimizing costs.
Surely in its three decades of execution, the project has evolved and undergone a myriad of changes. I can confidently say that no two editions of VIA are the same. Each year, VIA takes on a unique theme and builds on that to produce yet another unforgettable installment of one of the most-awaited bazaars on campus. The past editions of the project have been completely unique, so much so that there is no point comparing previous installments with one another.
For instance, products offered have evolved while the list has also grown longer. Starting out with the staple red roses, VIA has since expanded to also offer sunflowers and sweets, for example. In more recent years, VIA has also taken to social media to reach out to its main audience, the Ateneo community. For two consecutive years, VIA tapped NineOne Productions, an all-Atenean film crew, to take care of its promotional materials and consequently, help spread the love. Viral digital promotional materials, in the form of posters and short videos, have thus been produced to make the project all the more relatable to the perpetually loving Ateneo population.
But these are not the only things that set VIA installments apart from one another. This year’s edition saw inevitable challenges brought about by the first time implementing the calendar shift. From having to plan everything out over the summer when most people were away on vacation, to trying out a new system of delivery as students scrambled to fix their first semester schedules— these are only some of the issues that sprung up and were eventually overcome by VIA’s Project Heads and Core Team this year.
After the success of this year’s VIA, there is no doubt that this bazaar will continue to serve up even sweeter and more innovative installments in the years to come. As the saying goes, the only permanent thing in this world is change. Each year, VIA embodies this while still upholding both the economic rationale behind it and a tradition of showing the Ateneo community the creativity and originality of AEA members.
Bernice Halili is the Vice President for Asset Acquisitions of the Ateneo Economics Association (AEA).