Getting to know you: GCU hosts Speed Friending for students

January 15, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau

Modeled after the popular speed dating, which allows singles the opportunity to meet prospective romantic matches, Grand Canyon University’s “Welcome Crew” on Thursday evening helped more than 100 freshman, transfer and commuting students meet people with a Speed Friending event.

Charity Norman,  GCU’s student engagement coordinator, said the crew is working hard to improve its outreach, student relationships and GCU’s strong community feel.

More than 100 students at Thursday's evening's Speed Friending event played goofy icebreakers and got to know each other better.

More than 100 students at Thursday’s evening’s Speed Friending event played goofy icebreakers and got to know each other better. Photo by Emily Saunders

“Speed Friending is for those who already like or want to learn to interact with people and be more outgoing with others,” Norman said. “We come up with a variety of fun get-to-know-you games and break up students into groups.”

Students who stopped by The Grove Lawn for Speed Friending wore name tags and lined up in two parallel lines along the grassy field to create a tunnel. They cheered as others flocked onto the field and ran through the tunnel to grab their own name tags.

“We didn’t tell them to do this — this was all their idea,” Norman said.

Each friending round kicked off with a 30-second introduction and also featured icebreaker games: Ultimate Ninja, which involved striking funny ninja poses and slapping other people’s hands, Mint Rally, in which a mint was passed from one person to the next with the help of a toothpick, and Circle Lap Sit, where players gently sat down on the lap of the person behind them.

Events such as Speed Friending are a casual and fun alternative to awkward meet-and-greets.

Circle Lap Sit was among the games played by GCU students during Speed Friending, a casual and fun alternative to the awkward meet-and-greet.

“I think students enjoy this event because it’s outside of the norm of how they typically meet people and it draws a lot of students interested in getting to know other types of people in a more facilitated way,” Norman said. “It’s hard to walk up to a group of 500 people and introduce yourself but it’s easier to go to an event where you’re going to introduce yourself to a group of 500 people.

“I think that awkward situations are a bit underrated,” she said. “To be honest, one my genuine beliefs is that if people go through situations together that are a little weird, hard or awkward they get closer because they are forced to break the ice in more meaningful ways.”

Thursday’s attendees also enjoyed chocolate, music and dancing. They had varying ideas about what the event would have in store, but they all attended with the hope of making new friends.

“I think the most interesting part about tonight was sitting down in a circle on another person’s lap,” said Zach Broussely, a freshman from Colorado. “I didn’t think it would work, but it did.”

Freshman Kaylee Welsch said she came to GCU already knowing a lot of people, but was able to meet even more at the event.

“Now I have a lot of friends,” Welsch said. “I think it’s so important to not be afraid to be outgoing. Speed Friending is really to meet others and branch out in a way that you wouldn’t normally do.”

Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or

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