Who said statistics had to be boring? Four Cal Poly students took a creative approach to their Statistics 217 final by playing the “hold my hand” game in downtown San Luis Obispo last quarter.

The class was assigned to come up with a question and statistically find an answer. This group chose to randomly approach strangers on a busy intersection and ask them to hold their hand while crossing the street.

To ensure consistency of their data analysis, the group had to ask each stranger the exact same question: “Excuse me; will you please hold my hand while I cross the street?”

Psychology sophomore Ashleigh Droz volunteered to brave the strangers and do the asking. “It was extremely nerve-racking and intimidating,” she said.

The group filmed their downtown antics and posted the video on YouTube, the popular self-broadcasting Web site.

“I originally posted the video thinking it would be an easy way to share it with family and friends. I think it was the Cal Poly and San Luis ‘tags’ that attracted other viewers,” said graphic communication sophomore Aileen Carroll.

Over 500 people have since viewed the creatively edited video, which was Carroll’s first. It’s set to The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The strangers reacted in a variety of ways; some willingly took Droz by the hand and walked her across the street, while others looked at her as if she was completely crazy and walked away.

“My favorite response was from a guy who completely looked Ashleigh up and down after she asked him. He got a smile on his face and was like, ‘Are you serious? Sweet!’” said political science freshman Jamila Saqqa, a fellow group member.

Some people were hesitant to hold Droz’s hand across the street. “One guy said, ‘do you want people to think we’re dating?’ Then he ended up turning her down,” Carroll said.

Apparently, concern over significant others was somewhat of a trend. “One man asked me to act nonchalant in case his wife drove by,” Droz said.

Another common concern was that they were being framed on a “Candid Camera” inspired show.

The information from the project turned out to be statistically insignificant: “About half of the people agreed and half didn’t. There wasn’t a significant difference between males and females,” Carroll said.

The group, which also included communication studies freshman Alison Kendall, only focused on gender, ignoring age and other factors.

They got their idea with a little bit of help from a book: “Our teacher wanted us to do something that wasn’t boring, and this was a dare from a book at Urban Outfitters, so we decided to do it,” Carroll said.

Their group wasn’t the only creative one in the class – another group smoked inside public buildings to see how long it would take for people to ask them to stop. They dressed up as three different social classes to see if that had any impact on the amount of time it took.

Check out the video on YouTube.com titled “Wanna Hold my Hand?”

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