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Student organizations compete in trivia games at UPC’s Black History Bowl

Student organizations compete in trivia games at UPC’s Black History Bowl

February 25
08:24 2016

Kaylen Howard | Staff Photographer


Remains of scattered paper and the distinct aroma of fast food linger throughout the auditorium. After a three-hour Black History Month trivia competition, Black Student Union program director Jesse Anyalebechi walks alone toward the exit doors, both hands in his pockets and a satisfied smile on his face.

Five teams of eight players went head-to-head Tuesday night in UPC’s first Black History Bowl, located in the University Union Lyceum.

“It was a lot of fun,” Anyalebechi said. “Everyone definitely knew what they were doing.”

From 6 to 8 p.m., African-American associations like the Progressive Black Student Organization, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, African Student Organization and BSU challenged their black history knowledge in a Jeopardy-like trivia competition.

The overall winner of the event was BSU, whose contestants left the auditorium with small gold medals and free UPC T-shirts.

“We are always instilled with the spirit of excellence,” contestant and BSU intern Isaiah Williams said. “So I kind of knew we were going to be here and humbled that we are.”

NAACP contestant Bianca Johnson (right) confidently answers a triva question during UPC's Black History Bowl, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. | Staff Photographer Kaylen Howard. Talryn Oliver (left) waits patiently

NAACP contestant Bianca Johnson, right, confidently answers a trivia question during UPC’s Black History Bowl. Kaylen Howard | Staff Photographer

The audience of about 10 people grew as losing teams took their seats. Conversation and loud outbursts of support echoed throughout the auditorium.

The Jeopardy competition resembled more of a friendly gathering, with the area fully lit and audience members constantly engaging with team players.

“At first I didn’t know what it was, but then I was so encouraged to know that I was going to learn more about my culture,” public health alumni Janata Montgomery said.

Despite the slightly disorganized preparation of the questions in each round and frequent pauses to clarify information, each team looked over the setbacks, relaxing with laughter, victory dances and cheerful discussion.

“It’s a lot less of a competition compared to when I was in Quiz Bowl,” ASO contestant Carol Scott said. “I enjoyed the atmosphere.”

Tension grew when teams fought for points, but throughout the event contestants focused on the benefit of learning more about Black History Month than competing to win.

“It benefits, being an African American and learning about my history and things I didn’t learn in school,” NAACP contestant Sarah Britton said. “There may be people who are not black who can benefit from this experience as well.”

Contestant and ASO member Jahanara Hoque said she was brought up in an African-American environment as a child and saw this event as an opportunity to broaden her knowledge of black history.

“Because I grew up in Detroit around black people, I feel like I am a part of the black culture,” Hoque said. “I already feel included.”

Black Student Union,  huddle together for a group photo after their vistory at UPC's Black History Bowl, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. | Staff Photo Photographer Kaylen Howard.

The Black Student Union team huddles together for a group photo after their victory at UPC’s Black History Bowl. Kaylen Howard | Staff Photographer

Prior to the event, each team was given a blueprint of what they should study.

“We split sections and kind of divided and conquered,” PBSO president Jazreal Alexander said. “There was a lot, but you know if we master one section, then we are going to be good.”

Participants sat at a circular table on a stage in front of a full-screen monitor that displayed the trivia questions.  Five teams participated in the games, but only two or three teams competed in each round.

To the right of the teams stood a podium, from which a group of UPC members called out questions and answers.

“It’s great to see such a large turn out and the teams be so competitive and into who is winning, who’s not,” UPC member Keda Hall said. “There was a lot of refuting answers. I thought it was great.”

Categories included: African-American inventions, architecture, culture, science, art, entertainment, sports, movements and more. Each team chose how many points they would receive for each category.

Groups that didn’t get a question correct sat in silence as two competing teams raced to hit their buzzer for a chance to answer the question first.

“Black history is really important for all of our black student organizations on campus,” Anyalebechi said. “Knowing our black history and being able to use it to inspire us to do great things is important.”

Featured Image: UPC members: Kade Hall (right), Brittany weatherspoon (center) and Maddison Meehen (left)  call out triva questions an answers to the competing teams during UPC’s Black History Bowl, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. | Staff Photographer Kaylen Howard.

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