New Friends is a “MUST”

Over 150 students and one faculty member participated in the “Take a Seat, Meet a Friend” event held by the new Monmouth University Street Team (MUST) during the Involvement Fair on Wednesday, September 18.

Students were encouraged to take a dip in a ball pit where 1,000 balls sat, each with a different question written on it. While in the ball pit, students took turns asking each other the different questions written on each ball.

“The purpose of this club is to have people sit, talk about big ideas and connect,” said Susan Bennett, advisor of MUST club. “It’s fun and makes you feel good to relate to people on a different level in an unexpected way and we also are gearing our events around things that we must do.”

The majority of the people who took part in the event were total strangers who ended up sharing personal information in an uncommon environment.  

“There’s inevitably going to be tough issues of the day that have to be addressed, and when you have a setting to be able to do that, it’s just the right thing to do on a residential campus,” said University President Paul Brown.

Overall, the MUST club desires to create unique opportunities on campus that will encourage people to think and talk about big, meaningful things, while simultaneously promoting a general positive outlook on life, Bennet explained.

Students explained that they were curious to see what the ball pit was because it is an uncommon thing to see on a college campus. Zareen Shueiv, freshman and business major at the University said she was drawn to the event because she hasn’t been in a ball pit since she was a kid and it generated many happy memories.

Janaya Lewinski, a freshman political science major, said she didn’t know the club existed although she was drawn to it because of the ball pit.

“My first thoughts were ‘what’s that?’ and then hearing the idea of this being a conduit to having a good dialogue around a topic really hit a sweet spot,” said Brown. 

“But any excuse to have just a couple more folks, if not a lot more folks, to interact and talk about the issue of the day is great,” he continued.

Ryan Murphy, president of MUST, was extremely happy with the overall turnout and success of the event. “The fact that we had students consistently in the ball pit meeting new people and talking about interesting topics made the team think our first showing was a success,” said Murphy.

Murphy continued that students who participated in the event all seemed to enjoy themselves, many were found tweeting and instagramming their activities.

“Getting into a random blown up pool with strangers takes guts – something that Monmouth students have a lot of,” Murphy said.

The idea for the club came about this summer during new student orientation, Bennet explained. The idea was created based off of a popular YouTube video created by “SoulPancake,” a popular media company. 

The event was unadvertised, causing the members of the club to rely heavily upon the element of surprise, people’s curiosity and nostalgia to make the event successful.

There is no date set for the next MUST event, although the club is encouraging students to get involved. If students are interested in applying to be on the team, they should fill out an application at Sept. 27. The application will be followed by an interview process.

A spot on the team is a paid position through University Student Employment. Anyone is welcome to contribute to MUST. For more information contact Susan Bennett in student services.

PHOTO TAKEN by Susan Bennet