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WVU students hold Free Hug Day to build respect

Daily Athenaeum photo by Shelby Thoburn ‘It’s on US’ puts on free hug day outside the Mountainlair.
Daily Athenaeum photo by Shelby Thoburn
‘It’s on US’ puts on free hug day outside the Mountainlair.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students at West Virginia University were greeted on Wednesday with calls of “Free hugs!” as they passed in front of the Mountainlair.

“It’s a cold day,” volunteers chanted, “warm up with a free hug!”

WVU’s Hugs for Humanity event was an idea from WVU student Mustafa Rfat, who was a refugee from Iraq. In a Peer Advocacy class, Rfat thought of holding the friendly gathering and organized the event to remind people to respect and care about each other because they are human before anything else.

The peer advocates who contributed, represented It’s On Us, a national campaign to end sexual violence on college campuses by giving out free hugs to spread awareness about diversity and love for humanity.

“I came to this point where we are human, we have a lot in common, and that’s why I wanted to remind people that we need to care about each other. We need to respect each other,” Rfat said. “Let’s look beyond religion, let’s look beyond culture, race and ethnicity…

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