Trivia Weekend's not-so-trivial origin


by Katharine Enoch
The Lawrentian, January 23, 2004.
Go to original article.

What are you gonna be doing at 10:00:37pm Friday night? Well, if you are like any other normal Lawrentian, you'll be camped out in a basement hovering around a radio with some friends, as many computers and laptops available to you, phone lines, warm clothes, pillows, blankets, enough food supplies for three days, and a lot of caffeine. Sound like a tornado drill? Not quite. It's Trivia Weekend.

For those unaware of this annual Lawrence event, Trivia Weekend is 52 hours of "hilarity, stupidity, and sheer madness," according to the Dictator-in-Chief Phred Beattie. A staff of Trivia Masters including Jessie Augustyn, Jennifer Burns, Peter Gillette, Shawn Grady, Jonas Hackett, Meara Levezow, Kate Negri, Jonathon Roberts, Nick Sario, Sandi Schwert, Reid Stratton, and Andy Quinlan assisted by President Rik Warch create and ask the 300 questions that are broadcast over WLFM radio (91.1 FM) and then verify the answers as teams call in. Participants are allowed to use any medium of research available to them whether it is the Internet, a dictionary, or their mom.

Students established this trivia binge in 1965 as a reaction to the intellectual elitism they felt the university was advocating. In that same year, Lawrence sent selected students and faculty on an intellectual retreat. The students left on campus felt ostracized by this not-so-subtle move on the University's part and started the event known as Trivia Week. Several masters find it strangely coincidental that for Trivia Week this year, Lawrence's sophomore honors society Lambda Sigma will be attending a retreat at Bjorklunden. "This sorta echoes the original premise behind the contest back in 65," points out Phred Beattie.

So why participate? "Trivia provides a unique opportunity to release those 2nd term blues in a way that can only be described as a mental form of sky diving... in an SUV with flames painted on either side," explains Beattie, "...Trivia Weekend just might be the ticket to your salvation...Due to the chaotic nature of the Trivia Contest, I can't exactly explain everything that happens. You'll have to discover that for yourself." So set your alarm for 10pm Friday night (that'll give you 37 seconds to crack open your first of many Mountain Dews) and be prepared to "find satisfaction in banging your head against a wall for 52 solid hours."