This past Sunday members of various fraternities and sororities on campus walked around campus with Free Hugs signs and buttons as part of the Dance Floor Theory motivational training to learn about and discuss new, interesting methods of recruiting for the spring semester.
The Dance Floor Theory is a student leadership program developed by Tom Krieglstein through the company he founded with Kevin Prentiss, Swift Kick. According to Krieglstein’s website, Krieglstein and his company work with campus leaders all over the country to help them develop an environment where all students feel “welcomed, connected, and engaged.”
The idea to bring Krieglstein to campus came about when Student Affairs and Higher Education graduate student and Program Coordinator of CSIL, Natalie Polana, 22, attended a conference in Gettysburg and watched Krieglstein speak. Because the Dance Floor Theory is a student motivational training program, Polana thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Greek Life. President of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and communications BA major Maggie Burns, 21, organized the program for the myriad of fraternities and sororities on campus as training for the Executive Board members, especially newly elected members. The training was meant to help familiarize the new members with the campus and with their positions as student leaders.
Polana said she felt the training also assisted in motivating the participating students to get a good start on the semester, especially with Greek Life recruitment coming up.
As a graduate student in a Master’s program, Polana said that it was good for those who participated because programs and events like this build a better community within Greek Life.
Polana said the Dance Floor Theory in general is great for providing more opportunities as a leader because more friends equal more fun.
“The more people you know on campus, the easier it is to be more approachable,” Polana said.
Freshman psychology major and Recruitment Director for Alpha Sigma Phi, Lemarr Terry, 19, said at first, he thought the Free Hugs training was odd and cheesy, but that he ended up really enjoying himself.
“Certain things like this that help build your confidence [in leadership positions] is key,” Terry said.
Junior marketing and finance major, Vice President of Pi Kappa Alpha, and President of SGA, Logan Steigerwalt, 20, said the training opened his eyes to how important it is to really get to know people.
Steigerwalt also said it turned him into a warmer person in regards to going up to and talking to people, and that it showed him the importance of going out of your comfort zone.
Student Affairs and Higher Education graduate student and Graduate Assistant for Greek Life, Stefanie Centola, 23, said that she felt the Free Hugs training helped build connections and relationships, not only within the Greek community, but throughout the student body. Centola also mentioned the negative stereotypes that circle Greek Life, and said programs like this help squash the stigma in a fun and unique way.
Polana and Centola both felt this training program was “really important to provide for students” and that “the CSIL wants students to be the best leaders they can be.”
Polana, Terry, and Centola all agreed that they felt that the Dance Floor Theory training should continue “for years to come,” as Terry said.
“You don’t realize how far doing something nice for someone can go,” said Steigerwalt. Giving someone a smile or greeting them with a friendly “hello” can encourage that person to do the same for someone they see or meet. “It will grow.”
Terry said he liked doing this training because some people don’t realize how powerful a hug can actually be.