Trivia night for 500 points, please

By Helen Sternberg ’20

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Every Tuesday night, as though summoned by some secret call, students begin to gather in a chatty, excited line outside of The Little Pub. Composed of mostly upperclassmen but with smatterings of first-years and sophomores, the line impatiently waits for the doors to swing open and for the next two hours of fun to begin.

Once inside, one can feel the electricity buzzing through the air as teams descend upon the tables and grab all the necessary materials to play. Armed only with pens and a few scraps of paper, and with the stereo blasting a carefully-cultivated selection of tunes, the teams are now ready for their chance to win free Tex-Mex. 

Trivia Night, which takes place every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., is one of Hamilton’s hidden gems. Teams of up to five people endure about eight rounds of questions of assorted difficulty and categories, collecting points for correct answers. In the end, the four teams that have collected the most points win Tex-Mex gift cards. 

While some of the questions can be difficult, and the idea of having to know random trivia may be daunting to newcomers, Trivia Night is a place to enjoy the company of old friends and to make new ones. 

The event makes talking to new people easier. For example, if a group runs out of things to talk about on their own, there’s always a new question to discuss or a song to sing along to. The atmosphere that the hosts foster is carefully planned out with team’s priorities in mind. While some teams are strictly there to win the competition, many of the teams are just there to enjoy the atmosphere and each other’s company. 

The hosts, Jared Mandlebaum ’18, Madeline Carlman ’19 and Abigail Dayton ’19, are perhaps the true reason for why Trivia Night is such a success. The trio is passionate about trivia in and out of the pub, and each member has his or her own perspective of a “perfect” Trivia Night. It’s this passion that really makes the event enjoyable for all who come.

Carlman met one of the former hosts of Trivia, Sam Mengual ’16, on her orientation trip before she left for London as a Jan. Upon her return, she wanted to see Mengaul again, so she decided to come to Trivia Night. 

“I showed up to the first night of Trivia with a randomly-pulled-together group of sophomores and loved it,” Carlman said. “It was, from my perspective, one of the best ways to make friends.”

Carlman and Dayton bonded over their love for trivia and now room together, making it easy for the pair to talk about what they want to see in a typical Trivia Night. The two bounce ideas off of each other day and night, trying to create the perfect mix of questions to present. 

“We like to come up with questions that aren’t run-of-the-mill. We try to find really interesting ones that make people have to talk about it, think about it and connect with their team,” Dayton said. 

Both Dayton and Carlman try to ensure that teams have a good time by mixing in easy questions so that everyone can feel good about their answers. While some of the questions are near impossible, it’s still exciting for teams to come up with an educated guess based on each of their backgrounds.

“A lot of people ask us how we come up with questions. For me, it’s a very visual process, sort of like whatever I’m sitting around. I’ll be sitting in Opus and wonder what the history of chairs is, and then just start Googling,” Carlman said.

With a great playlist, loads of fun and interesting pieces of information, Trivia Night is something to look forward to in the middle of the week. 

College society tends to put a lot of emphasis on having fun on the weekends, but events like these can alleviate that pressure and allow any night of the week to be a great time. 

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