By Sarah Gittleman
A fun, new trend has come back from childhood and into Kutztown University. Hula hoops became exceptionally popular this year, proving themselves more than just a toy from years ago. In fact, hoops have been popping up all over Kutztown.
One could find students whirling and twirling on both north and south sides of campus, in the Cliffs and in town. However, when did this craze start, and when exactly did it blow up into this?
Girls first started to dance with hoops outside of South Dining Hall about three years ago. Back then, it was a small crowd of kids into more “eccentric sports” like hoops, poi and slack line. Students didn’t really know how to take this spectacle of strange athletic display, and many started referring to these kids as “the circus.”
Sarah Baker, now a junior, was a proud part of that circus. Sarah agreed that there is definitely a spiked interest in hooping over this past year.
“When I started, I knew one other [hooper] and I remember when I would hoop outside, people would look at me like I was crazy,” she said.
The circus has been more or less dissembled, but Baker still holds great memories from her freshman year.
“It was cool. We all got together and did fun things together. A lot of those people I’m still close friends with,” she said.
Even after the original circus scattered, the lifestyle became pretty popular. Maybe it’s partially due to the “21st century hippie” revolution that seems to be stemming from our generation or the health perks behind the craze.
Regardless of what started this, it is no secret that hula hooping has become a fad. There are now at least 20 confirmed hoopers in Kutztown, which is a leap from the small band of kids who were first seen spinning.
This “hoop” takeover hasn’t just affected the student body, but also Kutztown’s local shop, Althea’s Imaginarium.
Althea’s, although known for novelty items such as boho clothing, incents and tapestries, had only a few hoops to offer when it came to Kutztown in 2011.
Chad Schlegel, 34, the owner of Althea’s Imaginarium, has also noticed this rising trend, making adjustments to the shop so he could keep up.
“I sell a couple [hoops] a week. I try to make sure they’re constantly in stock now, and that there’s different sizes and weights,” he said.
Hoops range from $10 to $20 at Althea’s and are made by Kutztown residents. Schlegel added that students have sold hoops through Althea’s in the past.
Andrew West, a sophomore and hooper of one year, is shocked at the amount of hoopers residing in Kutztown.
“I always see a random hooper every now and then back home [in Philadelphia], but not like I see them here,” he said.
Will this new craze last? So far, it only grows with more interest. This college trend is healthy, fun and keeps people active.