A sign it’s home: DePauw students love to hug


DePauw students love to hug. I didn’t think anything of it until my friend Patrick Wagner ’11 told me of an encounter with a non-DePauw-student’s perspective this summer. Upon seeing an impromptu DePauw alumni reunion at a bar, the non-Tiger’s only comment was that the group hugged a lot. Do we? P-Wags says yes, and I’m starting to believe him.
My roommates and I recently watched an episode of “Taste of DePauw” (a D3TV Show) from a few semesters ago and noticed the absurd number of hugs in one of the opening scenes. All of the contestants exchanged hugs. The judges hugged. The contestants and the judges hugged. President Brian Casey was in on the hug fest too. It was funny, because my roommate’s boyfriend from Texas was visiting. He liked watching D3TV to see what the people at this school were like. This was excellent evidence.
Although it’s not as apparent in the academic quads on weekdays, the phenomenon can be witnessed at weekend social gatherings like tailgates, registered parties, and the Beta front porch. Stand outside The Duck on Friday night around midnight and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Constant exchanges between social groups are happening. It’s the most ridiculous dance around people you don’t know or that guy you’ve met, like, six times but don’t remember his name. I feel like I spend the majority of my nights greeting people rather than discussing anything of real importance.
This might not be such a bad thing according to most research done on the culture of hugging. One study claimed that in abundance, hugs and other encouraging touches exchanged among teammates resulted in wins and success. Hugs enhance productivity, communicate emotions and can even transfer energy. Physical touch has even been known to directly affect the way you view the world around you. According to Hugmeister.com, “the softer the touch, the happier and more generous you are; the harder, the more selfish and aggressive.”
Whether or not you believe you embody a transferable energy and spirit, the way you hug says a lot about you. The best hugs are soft and full. It’s not a quick grab at your side or a squeeze that makes it hard to breathe. They’re the ones that make you warmer; they’re harder to let go.
I guess I never thought about DePauw hugs as out of the ordinary because I am a Midwesterner, and we hug everyone. Some could blame my gender-we all know that some men are apprehensive to express touch or embrace each other for fear of emasculating themselves-but I have plenty of male friends who foil this stereotype.
To me, these hugs are more than an exchange among acquaintances. DePauw is home. And even though I might not like all of you, I still have to see you at the big holiday parties. Sometimes, you just gotta hug it out.

– Dickman is a senior English Writing major from Zionsville, Ind.