At the beginning of every school year, it’s important that we try hard to increase openness among our friends or peers. Plus, if we’re an orientation leader, it’s important that we work hard to get people wide open!
Today I am going to share three simple, cheap activities that you can to do get your students to open up, be vulnerable, and connect deeply as part of your orientation.
12 Second Gazes
Remember musical chairs? This is kind of like that only with staring. In groups (maximum 100ish), have them walk around in a confined space for 30 seconds. During this, have them keep their heads up and try to lock eyes with others as they pass by. Now, at the end of 30 seconds, ask the students to stop and lock eyes with whoever they are closest to silently. Then, and here’s the trippy part, have them keep their gaze locked on that person for 12 seconds. They can blink, but should not make any noise. At the end of 12 seconds, repeat the same process over again with having the students walk around for 30 seconds and then lock eyes with someone else for another 12 seconds. Complete 3-5 rounds of this. For the final gaze, elongate the gaze to 30 seconds. You’ll be amazed at the impact this will have on fostering intimacy.
Fear vs. Hope
Purchase a bunch of white fabric and some fabric akin to your school color. Get enough so that you buy about half white and half colored fabric. But make sure you can write on it with a sharpie (so no fleece or velvet). Cut the fabric into strips that are about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Punch or cut a hole in one end of them. Now, distribute one white and one colored piece to each student. Ask your students to write their biggest fear about college on one in less than 10 words. On the other ask your students to write their biggest hope about college in less than 10 words. Collect them and using ribbon hang them on two trees on your campus side by side. Leave it as an exhibit that students can visit throughout orientation and perhaps contribute to on an ongoing basis.
High 5 Run
Not everything needs to be so serious! Schedule a High 5 Run with your students. This means going for a jog around campus and giving EVERYONE high 5s that they run by. It spreads positivity, obviously, and
encourages students to break out of their shells around each other. Bonus points for wearing a ridiculous costume or using large novelty foam hands.
That’s it, that’s all! Give it a shot next time you have to break a group wide open.
The obvious thing to do would be to make this a sales blog. I am not going to do that. Because
the truth is that you don’t need us or our programs to get your students to open up. You just
need some hacks.