A judgment-free social space is needed on campus

Class has just ended. You head over to the Bronco Student Center (BSC) to sit down before your next class. Entering the building, you notice there is an empty seat away from everyone else, so you take it. Your first instinct is to go on your phone.  

Eduardo Rangel | The Poly Post

Twenty minutes pass and you realize you are scrolling through the same feed over and over again, but looking up you can see that everyone else is either on their phone doing the same thing or with friends. 

Now you are bored and want to talk to another person. You continue to scroll through your feed, constantly looking up, waiting for someone to talk to you, but chances are no one is going to. 

Anywhere you go on campus, you will find someone fitting this description — someone who is waiting for any type of social interaction, which is not as common as it used to be. 

Since technology and social media have advanced, more people are glued to their phones and have become so comfortable interacting only with the people they talk to on their phone that it affects their basic interaction skills.  

Although I still tend to become closed when I enter a room full of strangers, I met my closest friend in the exact way that people should approach others. 

I was sitting alone in the BSC on my phone bored because my friends had just left, and a person decides to sit down next to me and starts asking me questions and carrying on a full conversation. 

I have known that person for over a year now and in that year, I have only ever had one other person approach me in a similar way. 

Socially interacting with strangers is so rare unless you have a friend who introduces you to other people or you decide to join a club, sorority, fraternity or even get a job on campus. 

Our campus needs a social area that is specifically for people who want to interact with other students without the fear of being rejected. 

The fear of rejection holds back many friendships and opportunities. 

A social space on campus, for example, somewhere in the BSC or even a specific time scheduled for meeting new people, would encourage students to interact more. 

It would not only create friendships, but help students get out of their comfort zones and become more confident by doing so. 

Students also often use the excuse of Cal Poly Pomona being a commuter school as to why they don’t put any effort into interacting with others. 

Sometimes students feel like they don’t fit in with a club or organization on campus. This ideal social space would not affiliate with any certain type of background or groups of people. It would simply be for whoever wants to meet new people and make friends. 

Students on campus should not have to spend hours on end on their phones because they are afraid of interacting with another person. 

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