Fantastic Stout Strangers and How to Meet Them


There are over 9,000 students on campus, but how many do you actually know? Probably not all of them. You see familiar faces around university grounds and in the halls, but imagine what it would be like to know them, to understand them, and heck, to even hangout with them!

On Tuesday, March 28, the University Library and SPEAK UP hosted a “Speed Friending” event, where students could actively engage with strangers. So, that’s what I did! Five minutes on the clock, a stranger in front of me and a jar of questions were all the components needed to connect.

Gretchen is fascinated with computers and Kristin loves the color periwinkle. Taasia’s passion for “The Lion King” is something beautiful, and Brandon enjoys the band “We the Kings,” although I have never heard of them until now.

There is so much to learn from our fellow students, and so many opportunities to find common ground with hobbies, favorite books, aspirations and even fears. However, there is also a chance to expose ourselves to new ideas, cultures and other interests.

Celine has a French name, but isn’t French, and Emma is very empathetic. Jun comes from a Chinese culture, and was teaching me some of her native language. Finally, Zarah must love pizza as much as I do, since we grabbed some as the clock was counting down.

I met more students then the eight pictured above, each one sharing something unique about them that I couldn’t help but admire.

Try opening your mind. Meet a stranger. Ask some questions. Five minutes is all you’ll need to connect.

Don’t know what to ask? Here are a few options (taken from the event):

  • What’s the best thing about living in Menomonie? The worst?
  • If you were going to write a novel under a pen name, what would you choose as your name?
  • Would you rather visit the world 100 years in the past? Or 100 years in the future?
  • Of all the books you’ve read, which one made the biggest impact on you and why?
  • What’s the longest you have gone without looking at social media in the past year and how did you do it?
  • What is one of the most difficult things to have happened to you so far in 2017?
  • If there is one thing you could change about how people relate to you, what would it be?

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