It’s a Friday afternoon outside the Oakland Center and, out of nowhere, a group of students run up to a stranger, asking her to join their group.
The girl, although reluctant at first, joins the group and gets to know the people involved. This is the mission of Making Friends Friday.
Making Friends Friday, or MFF, started as a competition between Paige Golinske and Ryan D’Silva, two of the “original friends.” The third original friend is Carly Rouston.
“We came up with this brilliant idea to see who could make more friends in the OC, since Ryan is such a social person, as am I,” Golinske said. “So, while Ryan made more friends, we realized how rewarding it was to meet so many new people and help people’s days.”
Rouston agrees the original competition sparked a strong friend-making mission for the group of students. She also said the friendships are long-lasting.
“It’s been really awesome because we have made friends that I know I will have forever and we have seen some people gain a ton of confidence as well,” Rouston said.
For the past three months, the group has met in the OC around 1 p.m. each Friday. Activities for the group so far include playing spoons, Taboo, Twister and other games outside.
Although the group tries to think of special events or activities to do each week, Golinske said the group’s focus is on making friends, regardless of the activities.
“The idea is mainly just to get people connected,” Golinske said. “With OU being a commuter campus, people don’t always hang around and get involved, so we’re giving them a reason to get involved, and stick around campus.”
One regular participant in the group’s Friday activities is sophomore Emily Cutlip, who said she has become close to the other students, especially the three original friends.
“It’s a great way for commuters to feel included on campus,” Cutlip said. “It really helps people break out of their shells and develop better social networking skills, and understand other, different people.”
Since the group’s inception, Golinske said the response from the Oakland University community has been outstanding. The group’s Facebook page has gotten about 100 members in the past three months.
“People are so open to meeting people and becoming a part of something,” she said. “A lot of people have said that they feel something like this was needed on campus, and that’s why people are so responsive.”
Rouston said the students get together outside of the Friday happenings as well.
“The people from MFF hang out throughout the week and will get together for lunch throughout the week and hang out,” she said.
Golinske also said she hopes more students, especially commuters, will continue to get involved with Making Friends Fridays and meet in the OC at 1 p.m. on Fridays.
Students who are interested in joining can also find out more information on the Facebook group, Making Friends Fridays at OU.
“It’s a judgment free zone for people to just come and enjoy themselves. As long as you give it a chance, you’ll make great friends and really get involved with something fun and laid back on campus,” Golinske said. “All I would say is that people should give it a try. It may sound corny, it may sound dumb — anyone can have their opinion on it — but it’s worked.”