Former student shares the love
“I have nothing better to do. And someday, someone’s really going to need a hug.” – Beta Rock
About once a week, sleepy-eyed students either going to their first class or getting out of their first class see a man sitting between Morse Hall and Cram Science Hall with a whiteboard advertising free hugs and an inspirational quote.
This man, who prefers to be called “Beta Rock,” attended Emporia State for two semesters about a year ago before withdrawing due to personal reasons.
Boredom was what inspired him to start giving away free hugs, and he comes to campus about once a week from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I have nothing better to do,” Rock said. “And someday, someone’s really going to need a hug.”
Originally from Detroit, Mich., Rock moved to Emporia to see a different part of the United States and because he had family living here.
“Detroit was getting old, and I wanted to see more of the world,” Rock said. “I had family here. My brother moved away, so (Emporia) was the easiest place to move without being immediately homeless.”
As for his inspirational quotes, Rock chooses from the Internet “anything that might inspire someone or remind them that life’s going to suck and you might as well be happy.”
Rock lives by the motto, “Life sucks, get over it.”
What Rock does is far from conventional, and some students are not completely comfortable with hugging a stranger.
“I think it’s weird that he just sits there,” said Hallie Luken, sophomore secondary speech and theater education major.
But for other students, a free hug is all it takes to improve their days.
“I stop after my first hour and give him a hug, and it brightens up my day,” said Gabrielle Garrison, freshman secondary English education major. “So it has a positive impact on my day. He knows that just by one gesture, he can probably make everyone’s day. I mean, it seems like he’s just trying to make everyone happy.”
Free hugs also make days brighter for Ashley Lamgdon, junior political science major.
“I think he’s awesome,” Lamgdon said. “He has a little inspirational quote board next to him, so those are always good, but it’s just like a little free pep-me-up kind of great thing.”
When he’s not giving away free hugs, Rock enjoys reading, walking, disc golf, video games and watching television.
“Nothing out of the ordinary because there’s nothing to do here,” Rock said.