Party of Six: Bringing students together
As many students know, making friends after your first year at Washington University can be difficult. Sure, you may meet the occasional acquaintance through a small seminar or a new club, but for the most part, your social circle will remain relatively stable throughout your four years here. Despite the prominence of this phenomenon, however, no one has addressed this friendship issue…until now.
If you’ve been on Facebook recently, your news feed has probably been alerting you as more and more of your Wash. U. friends join a group called Party of Six. This group is the unique brainchild of five Wash. U. students: freshmen Karen Mok and Joe Sutherland, sophomores Owen Qi and Cameron Chiang, and senior Guillaume Auffret.
The group hopes to allow Wash. U. students to meet new people by providing six randomly chosen students from the Wash. U. community with a free night out to do a group activity. As Sutherland said, “You can meet random people who may turn out to be important connections in the future or may just turn out to be good friends.” This idea came to fruition over winter break at the three-day Redefining Community Experience workshop hosted by the Office of Student Activities. As Auffret said, “We hope that students will recognize this as a good effort to connect people at Wash. U.”
By participating in a Party of Six event, not only do students have a chance to meet others that they otherwise may not have known, but they also have the opportunity to explore different parts of St. Louis. Some of the locations and activities suggested for the event include Sky Zone, City Museum, the Delmar Loop and a number of special cultural and/or sporting events in St. Louis. The participants in these weekly outings will come from all class levels and backgrounds; the only thing that one must do for the opportunity to be chosen is to join the Facebook group.
The Party of Six creators hope to select random groups, provided that the members have some common interests that they can bond over while out on the town. Auffret said, “A lot of people are hanging out with the same kind of people, and it’s not very easy to branch out to other people, so I thought it was a good idea to break all these barriers between these groups of people.” The hope is that the Party of Six will be a group of diverse Wash. U. students, just like the five creators of the group.
So far, students have been overwhelmingly responsive to this group. As of March 2, the Party of Six Facebook group had 1,042 members. According to Mok, 660 members joined in the first three days of the group’s Facebook launch. As Auffret said, “We did not expect it at all; it was a good surprise. It shows there’s a need for this and that people would be really happy to meet other people.”
Currently, Party of Six is gearing up for its first event, which will take place after spring break. Sutherland said, “During the trial run we’re going to have icebreakers and catalyze meeting people. We’re going to get a little feedback and re-tweak a little and see how we go from there.” In the meantime, the Party of Six founders are working on getting funding from Student Union. The group is currently functioning on a small budget provided by the Office of Student Activities. The group, however, hopes to secure a much larger budget to finance future outings.
When explaining the five founders’ inspiration for creating Party of Six, Mok referred to the Machiavellian belief that “fortune determines your fate 50 percent of the time. [Party of Six is] doing that 50 percent.” With around 6,000 undergraduates on campus, who knows? You just might find your new best friend on a Party of Six trip.