Freeze experiment draws amused crowd to University of Michigan Diag
One student sat perched on his bicycle, as if he would soon start pedaling. Another clutched her cellphone to her ear, a look of surprise glued to her face. Two more — a male and a female — stood embracing, the woman's foot frozen in the air.
They stood like this for five minutes, participating with roughly 150 University of Michigan students that gathered on the Diag, froze in place at 2:33 p.m. Wednesday and resumed normalcy five minutes later. The event — dubbed 'Freeze on the Diag'— also drew hundreds of students last year.
The hardest part, many participants said, was not laughing when passersby looked on in confusion.
"I loved the reactions," said senior psychology major Paul Lee, who participated in the event. "Some people were really surprised, confused or startled. Overall people were just happy and excited to see it happening."
"It didn't seem too awkward or forced," Lee continued.
Senior English and communications major Ashley Gork looked on as her peers froze in place.
"It's interesting," she said, with a laugh. "You can see people's reaction: there's confusion and a lot of smiles."
As Gork stood watching, the Diag quieted from it's usual buzz of activity as students — the unfrozen ones, at least — tried to work through their confusion.
"It's really cool. It's a way to get people to notice you," said freshman Emily Bodden, who was on the Diag during the freeze but did not participate. "You can only be handed a flier so many times before you stop paying attention."
Freshman Amanda Wylie participated in the freeze and said she'd be happy to do it again. She found out about the freeze through news reports and social media. Although she participated, Wylie said she didn't know what freeze organizers were trying to accomplish.
"I just know Ann Arbor is a quirky place," she said.
Lee, a member of Do Random Acts of Kindness, the student group that planned the freeze, said the reasoning behind it is simple.
"We're just doing it as a means of spreading good cheer on campus," he said.
Freshman Dominic Farchione agreed, saying the event "is a cool U-M community thing."
Added sophomore economics major John Li: "It's exam time and people are stressed, so its a chance for people to chill out, relax and be a part of something that's funny."
Dozens of colleges have attempted wide-scale freezes, including Penn State University and Michigan State University.
Video was produced by Danny Shaw.