Free Hugs from Atheists
|Planning Time||One week|
Activity Overview: This is quite possibly the simplest activity you can do; although you can fancy it up somewhat, at heart all you're doing is holding up a sign and hugging passersby. However, there are some steps you can take to make sure you get noticed. In particular, you'll want to be in a place where between 400 and 3,000 people pass daily. The exact number will depend on the size of your school, or the size of the town/city if you go off-campus. As a particularly simple activity, this can be easily combined with something else, such as tabling, or as publicity before a larger event.
Coordinating: This works best when you can get a number of huggers to congregate at one time in one place. If 1 to 10 people in your group can agree on a time and place, that will work. Coordination should be limited to making signs together.
Material requirements: Signs can be made out of a combination of posterboard, carboard, crayons, markers, construction paper, letter paper, glitter - your imagination is your only limit! Check with your student activities office for what resources are available through your university. Making the signs yourself is ideal - this activity attracts attention through a light-hearted yet sincere approach, and more professional signs would be out of place.
- Within your group, find a handful of people willing to participate. Figure out a time and place to dispense the hugs, and pick a time and place before then to make signs. You can designate a person or persons to obtain materials, or everyone can be responsible for bringing their own.
- Make signs. Slogans should be short and convey the essence of your activity: "Free Hugs", "Free Hugs from Atheists", "Free Hugs from Humanists", etc. They should be colorful and inviting. Stay away from anything that might imply exclusion or intolerance of others - don't have signs that say, "Free Hugs for Atheists".
- This event really doesn't require promotion in the form of advertising. However, you may want to notify the local or campus media - it should result in some positive coverage, which would be especially good for a new group, or if you are in a fairly conservative area. You can write a press release (tips on how to do that can be found here) or simply talk to a reporter. If the press doesn't come, don't worry - at the very least you'll have some positive word-of-mouth.
- At the appointed time and place, hold up your signs and hug people!
- Afterwards, put away your signs for another time. All huggers can go out for ice cream together.