How do you bring people together? This is the question Alaska Club had to ask itself as member attendance was at its low. Armando DeAsis tells The Indian Leader about the background behind their game night and their boost in attendance.
What was the reason for your game night?
“I was having problems with member turnout… On our practices and our meetings we’d regularly have five people show up… [At one of our meetings], we were talking… and someone brought up a good point, maybe people weren’t showing up because we weren’t actually doing something and we were just having song practices and so I was like fair enough…. I haven’t been planning anything because I was trying to get a grasp on being the president of a club, but I’d totally be willing to do something. So we started brainstorming and came up with an idea for a game night. The closest we could do it… was [November 1st]… The point of it was to promote ourselves a little bit. That was the reason for our game night, and just to show people that we could do it.”
Who were the other clubs you partnered with and why?
“I wanted to include [Haskell] Handweavers… just because I wanted to test out collaborating/working together with another group. I also brought in board game club, who isn’t an officially sanctioned club, but considering we were doing a game night I thought it would be the most appropriate club to include because they are all about just playing games.”
Did member heritage come into play selecting Day of the Dead as the theme for the event?
“The reason we came to the Day of the Dead theme was that it was going to be right after Halloween… I realized it was Day of the Dead…. I’m half Mexican… [Total] Three of [the executive committee] and one [other member] who is also Mexican. I thought it would be appropriate because that is the holiday that is going on, we were Mexican as well as Alaskan and a lot of what Day of the Dead is, like any holiday, especially one that is about remembering the people who have passed on, is to be with friends and family and to have a good time. It’s not mourning them it’s celebrating them. [Game night] was to just bring friends and family together to have a good time the day after Halloween.”
How did it feel to see players favor board games over video games?
“That was cool. I kind of expected it… Just in my experience more often than not I prefer to play games where I’m talking and interacting with people. That was super interesting to see [the videogames] being played for a while then all of a sudden there was no one touching [them]. I thought that was super cool. It gets back to the whole thing of people just wanting to be together and talk and have a good time and actually interact with each other.”
Finally, how successful was game night, and did it boost club attendance?
“I think we’ve had one practice since then, and more people showed up… We’ve had one new member and this was just the tip of the iceberg. The more we do events similar to this, we’ll eventually get a good snowball effect going where we continue to get more people. But, I think it was successful, I think getting at least one new member was huge and getting our current members to show up was even bigger so on that front I think it was very successful.”
For those interested in the clubs: Alaska Club meets on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm in the Osceola-Keokuk Hall Classroom (upstairs), Board Game Club meets on Thursdays at 5:00 pm at Ross hall in the writing center, and Haskell Handweavers meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm in the Tommaney Hall Library room 111.