Making new friends can be a challenge for people, especially when attending a college and not knowing a single person on-campus. Three devoted resident assistants created an innovative way to help students find new friends and form relationships.
RAs from Wyoming Hall co-hosted an event with Allegany Hall RAs on Friday Jan. 26 called “Friender.” The event was created to bring Geneseo residents from all over campus together to socialize and make new friends.
When students arrived, they were told to sit at a blue or white card, depending on whether they considered themselves to be an extrovert or an introvert, respectively.
“A lot of introverts are afraid to speak up and initiate conversations—but it’s not because they don’t want to make friends—they are just really shy,” Resident Assistant for International Student Engagement junior Imasha Silva said. “Extroverts, on the other hand, love making friends. So, with this event, we are trying to connect people with different personalities.”
The participants were set up with two people to a table, where they conversed for three minutes before switching partners—much like speed dating. If the students were unsure what to talk about, then there were green cards available on the tables that had fun topics to prompt conversation.
“This is like a speed friend event. We are just trying to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get to know someone new or possibly rekindle relationships,” RA junior Shekiqua Reid said. “[By the end of the event] I hope they are more confident when speaking to someone new and that they learn how to navigate different conversations.”
The event included pizza for the participants, and they ate while enjoying meaningful conversations with their new friends.
“I came to this event because it sounded fun and I wanted to make new friends in my residence hall, and I hope to spread awareness for hall council events,” geology major sophomore Rachel Kelk said.
“Friender” departed from most conventional RA programming, solely based on the fact that all Geneseo students were invited—not just Wyoming and Allegany residents.
“Being in Student Life, we are told to do programs that go beyond classroom education. If you think about it, this is kind of educational—how to approach people with different personalities,” Silva said. “This is not something you learn in a classroom.”
The event seemed to be a hit among students, and all three RAs who ran the event were very committed and invested in creating a fun environment for their residents to have a great time meeting new people.
“I’m hoping that they will find a lifelong friend. The college years are a time of big change and they say that you’ll meet your best friends in the college years,” RA junior Thomas Hawley said. “I’m hoping that at least one person finds their true friend here.”