Osakis grad shows sober side of drinking gamesAre drinking games synonymous with college life? For many, the answer is yes, and thanks to an Osakis graduate, a sober version of a popular drinking game is spreading across campus.
By: Greta Petrich, Osakis Review
Are drinking games synonymous with college life? For many, the answer is yes, and thanks to an Osakis graduate, a sober version of a popular drinking game is spreading across campus.
Brittany Niehoff, a sophomore student and resident assistant at Concordia College in Moorhead, has turned root beer pong into a safe, social event for first the students on her floor and now the entire campus.
The idea came as Niehoff struggled to find ways to get her residents to get to know each other. She’d planned other events with minimal participation.
“I know a lot of people like to play beer pong in college,” she said. “I thought if there was any way I could get my hall director to be OK with it, I could get a ton of participation.”
After discussing her idea, they agreed if Niehoff could put an educational spin on the event it would be worth trying.
Just what is this pong game? It begins with a table, 10 cups on each side of the table, set in a triangular shape. Each cup is filled with rootbeer. The object is to stand at one end of the table and toss a ping pong ball into a cup on the opposite side of the table.
Niehoff went a few steps further to make the game educational while fun. She gathered statistics and facts about drinking to write on the outside of the cups. Then she went the extra mile to really bring home her message about drinking.
While preparing for the gathering, she remembered a goofy golf tournament in Osakis, and contacted the Osakis Police Department (OPD) to ask if they would donate some “beer goggles” for the event. The OPD obliged, offering two pair of the goggles that distort your vision, causing behaviors similar to being under the influence of alcohol.
“I called officer Cal [Uhl] and explained what I needed the goggles for,” she said. “He was extremely supportive of my event.”
Niehoff used Facebook to invite all her friends to the event. That, with word of mouth, snowballed from a program for one floor of a residence hall, through the dorm, across campus, off campus and even to MSUM and NDSU, resulting in a great turnout.
“Word spread fast about being able to play an alcoholic game on Concordia campus,” she said. “Although students knew no alcohol would be served, they were still very excited to be able to play this game.”
Instead of a table with facts and handouts, students enjoyed a social activity with music, dancing and cheering, all the while learning sobering statistics that didn’t dampen the spirit of the night one bit.
“Through this event I have learned how to successfully plan a program not only for my residents but the entire Concordia community,” Niehoff said. “I took a leadership role and made a lot of great connections with Concordia faculty.”
Niehoff is the daughter of Bruce and Ruth Niehoff of Osakis.
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