Students eating lunch on the Wilkinson Student Center Terrace on Jan. 23 may have noticed many of their otherwise serious classmates letting loose in a ball pit.
No, it wasn’t an extension of a McDonald’s play place. BYU Unity, a new coalition inside of BYUSA set up the ball pit in an effort to help students come together.
Noa Tavake, an actuarial science major from Salt Lake City, said playing in a ball pit was a great way to meet new people.
“It’s fun, you just get to know each other by sitting in the pit and asking each other questions,” he said.
Students approached the pit with nervous looks, wondering if they were too old to play. Once they sat down in the pit and started asking each other the questions, they loosened up.
“People are kind of embarrassed to come up, but once they step out of their comfort zone a little bit then they become friends,” said Chandler Yamane, a pre-management major from Las Vegas who helped run the event.
BYU Unity got the idea from the YouTube video “Take a Seat – Make a Friend,” where a ball pit was set up in the middle of a city to help citizens be more friendly with each other. This is the first time BYU Unity has tried the ball pit, which also featured hot chocolate and cookies.
Eric Corpuz, a recreation management major from Las Vegas who helped run the event said the BYU version was successful in helping students get to know strangers.
“What’s great about it is that people sit in a pit and they completely open up,” he said. “They’re so excited to make new friends, they just don’t have an outlet to do that. This has been a great way for people to make new friends.”
BYU Unity is a new group inside of BYUSA that began this year and is trying to help students at a school of nearly 30,000 undergrads feel a sense of community. This was the first major event they sponsored, but they hope to have more. Their goal is to make the campus more cohesive and help people better enjoy their experience at BYU.
“We’re trying to get students from all different kinds of backgrounds and experiences, kind of mesh them together and get them unified to help them feel a part of the BYU community,” Yamane said.
People who would like to get involved can visit byusa.byu.edu.