Unofficial hug group brightens Fridays for all

On most Fridays, you can hear us chanting “Happy Friday!” and “Have an awesome day!” outside of Russell Sage Dining Hall. Maybe you’ve even seen us dancing to some music. As one of the campus “Free Hug Friday” huggers, I’d like to tell you from my perspective what our little group is all about.

We’re an unofficial campus group dedicated to bringing some well-deserved happiness to RPI on all weather-permitting Fridays. I’ve noticed that this campus has a bit of an unhappy side. Classes get tough, politics are crazy, and it can all be really stressful. To get through these tough times, I strive to be optimistic and always remind myself that there is something to be happy about. And on Fridays, I try to share that with the rest of the campus. The weekend is something everyone can look forward to.

Some people think it’s odd to hug a stranger, and I can definitely understand that. I try not to be too intrusive or pressure anyone too much. The goal for me, whether you want a hug, a high five, or just to get to class, is simply to brighten your day. I see a lot of smiles at my dancing and encouraging chanting, and that’s all I hope for.

I get asked a lot, ‘Why do you do this?’ The truth is, it’s not just for everyone else; it’s also for me. Making other people happy is something that truly makes me happy. It’s what keeps me out in the sometimes below-freezing weather. And obviously as a hugger I’m someone who loves hugs! I really do love it; I’ve met some awesome people and always look forward to seeing the regulars. We also get a lot of great feedback from people telling us that we really make a difference in their Fridays. It’s very rewarding.

So I hope that this has given you an understanding of what we do and why we do it. Anyone is welcome to join us, I’m typically out there from 12-2 and carry an extra sign. As a graduating member, I just hope the group continues when I’m gone. All it takes is a positive attitude and a sign.