Three freshmen stand on one knee and yell out things they all think they will have in common. "PS2," one says. They get ready, jump up in unison and shout like the surrounding groups but no, one person likes the X-Box gaming system more.
They seem stumped. Some suggest their favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of them likes the Green Bay Packers. Their favorite music is rap. It's a success. Chris Acquafredda, Rob Williams and Jose Bustillos all jump up and return to their positions to find out more about one another.
This is Playfair at the University of Richmond, a large gathering with unique icebreakers and other games. It has become a traditional part of orientation for incoming freshmen.
"Playfair is totally unlike anything you've done on campus," the coordinator at the front of the stage told freshmen through the microphone. "The goal is to meet as many different people as possible in the shortest time as possible."
One game introduced strangers in a group of three, then five, then seven. They had about 40 seconds to talk about themselves. Another activity linked the freshmen with their hands on each other's hips as they stood in circles. Then they squatted and supported the weight of the entire circle.
"Playfair was the most fun I had my freshman year," said sophomore orientation adviser, Peter CampoBasso. He said last year at Playfair he was inspired to get involved with freshman orientation. "I think it's a blast."
Older students helped at Playfair as resident assistants, members of the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and orientation advisers.
"I think it's a blast," said freshman football player Justin Grant. Other universities, such as Bucknell University, James Madison University and Carnegie Mellon University, also use Playfair as a tool for introducing large groups of people to one another.
Playfair was held in the Robins Stadium last Thursday night. Before it started, there was a lot of chatter and gossip among freshmen about what would happen.
They hadn't known what Playfair was, or what to expect before their rowdy and hype entry to the Robins Stadium.
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