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Student Activities Board hosts virtual trivia night in hopes of connecting community

| Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Community often played out on the Saint Mary’s campus through cheering stadiums, packed auditoriums and large group game nights. This year, the sense of community through mass gatherings has been threatened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing requirements students must follow.

The Student Activities Board (SAB), a student-led organization that has always strived to emphasize the common principle of community that is so fervent among Belles, rose up to the challenge of promoting community while staying safe. While events led by SAB normally consist of Fun Fridays, Winter Wonderlands and game nights, many of these traditions have been challenged by the pandemic and the shortened fall semester.

To connect the student body, SAB is hosting a series of trivia nights in a hybrid format, taking place physically in the O’Laughlin Auditorium and virtually via a Zoom link sent out in a Sunday email. The series of events kicks off Wednesday.

Senior and SAB president Sarah Catherine Caldwell said her team of officers landed on trivia nights after seeing them gain popularity last year.

“We usually do these events called ‘Fun Fridays,’ and they were getting kind of stale, so last year we decided, before we even went home in March, to change it up,” Caldwell said. “Here on campus we saw a growing trend in trivia nights and saw people really enjoying that. It’s an event that can grow and that we are able to build a following with. We decided to do that so that even after COVID, we could still do this online to have a hybrid event to kind of limit the amount of people. It also works because if you’re an off-campus student, then you don’t need to drive to campus to join it, so it reaches more of a broad spectrum of students.”

How clubs reach students isn’t the only thing that affects students, though. Club leadership has also been a challenge, junior and SAB vice president Ashley Maul said.

“It has definitely been different,” Maul said. “We pretty much did a 180, but we bounced back from that and are continuing our efforts to maintain this sense of community.”

Caldwell said SAB usually has lots of signature events set in stone, but this year, planning events has been day-to-day.

“For example, [normally] one of our committees focuses on spirit for the athletics department. Obviously we can’t do that, so we’re switching to more of a wellness mindset for this semester,” Caldwell said. “For Belles’ Bash — the event on the Spes Unica/Madeleva green where mask tie-dying and club sign-ups took place over Welcome Weekend — we usually have about 750 people there over the course of two hours, but this year we only had maybe about 300 people over the course of four hours, so a lot of our events have been lengthened, and the amount of people that we can serve has been lessened.”

Caldwell said the trivia nights are designed for “anybody and everybody who wanted to come, Saint Mary’s student wise.” She said she would especially encourage first years to participate.

“One thing that’s really important right now is to build community, especially for first-year students who haven’t been on campus, it’s important for us to be able to connect, and right now it has been hard enough with all of the barriers,” Caldwell said. “Our hope is to alleviate some stress and to allow people to get their minds off of everything, and maybe you can get a nice little giveaway in the case that you win. Giveaways will be awarded to the first and second place winners of each round.”

The event will be general trivia, but SAB aims to have a wide breadth of questions. In September, SAB will be partnering with the Student Diversity Board to create questions for a collaborative trivia night.

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