Unlike other creatures that sniff butts, fan feathers or call out for mates, mankind has redefined a new, innovative way to meet others. Called “speed friending,” this new social gathering encourages people to meet as many other individuals as possible within an allotted timeframe.
These social soirees can be found in major cities, such as Seattle, Chicago and Houston, and on college campuses like the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Last Thursday, UAA Residence Life had its annual speed friending event in the Gorsuch Commons lower dining level after the first move-in day. The event was hosted by campus resident advisers and directed by Welcome Week leader Caity Ann Stigen, who planned all Welcome Week festivities.
Stigen said the turnouts for these events have been unpredictable over the years. Sometimes there have been 10-20 people, and at others there wouldn’t be enough chairs to seat all of the participants.
Stigen gave words of advice about being involved. She said the best way to meet to people is to “get out there. You have to know people around you in order to feel comfortable in where you’re living. So the more neighbors you meet, the more connected you feel and the more you’ll get out of being here.”
Betty Bang, Student Health and Counseling Center family nurse practitioner, also attended the event. She said having friends could even be essential to one’s safety, health and security. She also mentioned a smartphone app could even be used to contact a friend in case of an emergency.
All it takes is two touches on a phone, and a friend will be on the way to help. According to Tech 4 Good, Inc., this handy “Circle of 6” app is also free and can help “prevent violence before it happens.”
With this in mind, friends can be a great resource on campus. Some can help with homework. Others can tutor, lend a helping hand or perhaps be a designated driver. At the UAA Residence Life Speed Friending event, every student has the chance to make a friend.
However, this social gathering wasn’t always about making friendships. Residence Life Associate Director Maria Bonifacio said, “My first year, they did ‘speed dating,’ and then it evolved the next year into ‘speed friending,’ so it wouldn’t matter if you weren’t interested in dating. It was just a way to make it more friendly, open and accepting.”
After changing speed dating to speed friending, this new social gathering created a more welcoming atmosphere, inviting students from all walks of life.