Zoom-Based Senior Trivia Night a Success

Claire Jeantheau '21, Staff Writer

Approximately one hundred seniors participated in the annual Senior Class Trivia Night, adapted by the Senior Class Gift Committee for Zoom to be inclusive of on- and off-campus students, on Thursday, March 25.

The event saw seniors registering in teams to answer nine rounds of questions written by professors about academic and philanthropic topics, as well as the instructors’ personal interests. Rather than deliberating in-person, teams had two minutes to discuss in breakout rooms and email their answers to sets of questions in each round. 

First-place winners “AJ and the Jets,” receiving a gift certificate to Gingerbread Man, were Alexandra Johns ’21, Kate Shepherd ’21, Jenna Wyly ’21, Kylie Albertsen ’21, and Sydney Dumont ’21. According to Wyly, the team organized at the last minute. 

“We figured that since we had several different majors represented on our team we might have an advantage, since the questions were written by professors of all different subjects,” Wyly wrote. “And we were right!” 

Second-place finishers Bruno Kaboyi ’21, Keshawn Bostic ’21, Phillip Butler ’21, Eve Greenberg ’21, Robin Okunowo ’21, and Jakirah Williams ’21 formed the team “Diced Pineapples.” Okunowo credited the team’s success to their mix of interests and close friendships—the members of “Diced Pineapples” have known each other since their first year at Dickinson

“We are all really close but we also are all from very diverse backgrounds and diverse majors so we had a good representation of people to help us with those tough trivia questions,” Okunowo wrote. “I think our reach of all different corners of campus definitely gave us that edge!” 

Participating professors were nominated by seniors.  The professors not only wrote the questions, but presented individual rounds live in the game. Student engagement was high, with many professors receiving cheers as they appeared on screen and positive messages in the Zoom chat.

“I hope the seniors had fun, which is much needed for this class that has had a memorable but dreadful final year,” commented History Professor and self-described trivia buff Karl Qualls. During trivia, Qualls pledged to donate $100 to the senior class gift fund after Clara Giorgis ’21 correctly gave the full Russian birth names of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in a spontaneous bonus question.  

Associate Professor of Political Science Sarah Niebler used one of her questions as an opportunity to shed light on disparities in the treatment of men’s and women’s athletics.

I tried to come up with questions that students might know the answers to, but that wouldn’t be too easy. With the second one [which asked about universities with championship NCAA women’s basketball teams] I was specifically focused on the women’s game because of all the notable inequalities between the men’s and women’s tournaments that were evidenced over the past couple weeks,” Niebler wrote. She alluded to the recent controversy where women’s tournament teams received small racks of barbells to practice with, while men’s teams had use of a complete weight room.

Trivia is organized each year by the Senior Class Gift Committee, and the game opened with information for how seniors could contribute to the class’s fund. Committee Member Liam Pauli ’21 estimates that the planning process for this year’s trivia took three to four months, and that there was great pressure to match the event’s usual peak turnout of around 250 participants.

Adapting this event to a Zoom format was actually pretty simple….as we decided that we could utilize breakout rooms to replicate in-person discussion among teammates,” Pauli wrote. He thanked the committee’s staff advisor, Assistant Director of the Dickinson Fund Kate Dunbar, for her support: “We could not have held this event without her!”

While Pauli said that he had mainly received feedback about the event from close friends, other students and professors alike offered praise in their comments. “The questions were super unique and it was a great way to see professors outside of class,” Wyly wrote. 

Jamie Teeple, assistant professor of educational studies, likewise thought that “it was amazing to be connected to the community for such a fun and meaningful event. I thought that despite the challenges that virtual interaction presented, Kate, Liam, and their team did an outstanding job making the event a success.”