Chi Alpha helps students make friends

Speed-relating, much like speed-dating, is an activity invented to meet many people in a short amount of time.

According to Tyler Gerfers, the director of Chi Alpha, their reason for holding the event was to give students an opportunity to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.

The students participating were supposed to find a partner and start a conversation with them.

To achieve this goal, Chi Alpha gave out slips of paper with icebreaker questions on them to everyone at the event.

Students having a hard time coming up with conversation topics were supposed to use the questions provided as a prompt.

Every 10 minutes the participants had to switch partners.

Gerfers set up this time frame to make sure students got to talk to as many of their classmates as possible.

“It allows [students] to acclimate not just to campus, but to their classmates,” Gerfers said.

At first, people used the questions given by Chi Alpha, but soon conversations began to form naturally.

The 10-minute intervals stopped being used as students started to find people they connected with.

Across the SUB ballroom, students could be seen scanning each other’s Snapchat codes, sharing Instagram handles and making plans                   to hang out again.

Over 50 people participated in speed-relating last Tuesday. Gerfers said he was pleased with the success of the event.

He understands that it is difficult to come back to school after the holidays. Losing motivation after winter break is not an uncommon problem.

Gerfers hopes that Chi Alpha can provide encouragement to ULM students with more activities like speed-relating during future       spring semesters.

Gerfers used this event as a test run for any possible “Welcome Back Weeks.”

He said, “I’m really going to be pushing to do an official ‘Welcome Back Week’ next spring.”

One student who enjoyed speed-relating is second semester freshman Brittany Thurman.

Since Thurman is a pre-pharmacy major she doesn’t know many people outside of health sciences. She attended the event hoping to become acquainted with students from other majors.

Thurman is from a small town south of Lafayette. The event gave her a chance to make friends in Monroe.

She hopes Chi Alpha will be able to give students a “Welcome Back Week” next spring. She thinks events like speed-relating are good for students to experience.

“It gives students the opportunity to meet people that they’d probably never see on campus otherwise. It gets you out of your comfort zone,” Thurman said.

Thurman met two people she plans on being friends with. One even lives in the same residence hall as her.

Despite their close proximity, the two new friends might not have ever talked without  speed-relating.