Challenge: Walking around campus giving out free hugs!
What I am afraid of: Rejection, exposing myself, seeing people I know, campus police telling me it’s not allowed
How it went: Really well!
I’ve known I wanted to do this challenge for about 3 months now. I asked the information desk if it was allowed (See: Day 38) a while ago and they said yes. I was still slightly unsure though. I know the college has rules about freedom of speech, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t breaking any laws. I went to the desk again last night to ask if it was allowed and they said it probably was but I should double check with Event Services. So this morning I went to Event Services. They pulled up a document detailing “Expressive Activity” and read it to me. Pretty much, as long as I wasn’t causing harm or blocking traffic it would be ok. So that was as much of a green light for me as I needed.
I planned on being out there for an hour, and I walked around the popular parts of campus. I’d say about 60-70% of the people who saw me, rejected me. But that means that 30-40% opened up their arms wide and ran right up to me! It was a lot of fun, everyone was extremely nice. If they didn’t hug me they’d either just avoid eye contact or smile.
I noticed people were more likely to come hug me if I asked them specifically if they wanted a free hug. People were also more likely to come up if they had a friend with them. I didn’t really notice any gender differences, everyone was willing to hug me. A number of people asked what it was for and I told them I was doing it to face my fear and spread the love. 😊 A number of people said that I was really cool and they liked my sign, so that was nice. 😜
Overall, YES, I would do this again. (See my before and after pictures below!)