On any given night on Trexler Library’s A-level, you’d likely see students with faces tucked into books studying diligently. On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the scene was hardly quiet. Packed into rows of tables, students sat in teams of two to six people, eager to test their knowledge against the campus-renowned Trexler Trivia night. The theme was Olympic Trivia, and the host was Mark Stein, Ph.D., associate professor of history.
Trexler Trivia was started in the spring of 2011 with the intention of making the library a place “for more than study time and books” by former systems librarian Tim Clarke. The night continues to achieve its original goal, as Trexler Trivia always brings out the eccentricities of Muhlenberg College. With team names including “Sweet Baby Ray’s,” “Goku Battles Debate Club” and the thematically named “Insane Usains” (a nod to Olympic champion Usain Bolt), trivia night cultivates a fun and informal environment.
“Thankfully, the folks at the library organize the trivia contests so well that I quickly felt comfortable with how it all worked.”
When asked about his favorite part of the night, Jason Richwall ‘20 answered, “I really enjoy the fun yet competitive atmosphere everyone brings to trivia night. It’s a great way to celebrate knowledge in an unconventional and enjoyable way.”
While the trivia certainly can get competitive, event organizer Joy LeFevre noted the library staff’s emphasis on student feedback to keep the event fun and exciting, “We don’t want this to be another test; we want students to have a good time. We poll students, particularly after the event, to see what they liked the most and least; what would they change; what would they like included.”
The Olympic theme was present in the decorations, and somewhat in the questions, but the Trexler Trivia committee made sure to include a little something for everybody, choosing to emphasize knowledge of general trivia instead of delving too far into niche themes. “Our theme is stressed in our posters and library decorations; however, the theme content is lighter in the actual game,” said LeFevre. “We do not want our theme to keep potential players away because they are not knowledgeable in that particular field.”
Alison Stouffer ‘20, when asked for advice on how to find success on trivia night, spoke about how the wide net of trivia questions made collaboration amongst student groups much easier. She said, “A few of the members on my team, including myself, were new to trivia, so my best advice is to come in with an open mind and a good attitude. I also think it helped to have a diverse group of people across both academic and extracurricular activities to maximize the pool of knowledge.”
When asked about his favorite round of Trexler Trivia, Jonah Silverman ‘22 responded, “My favorite section of the quiz was when we were asked to identify which sport certain phrases come from. This was my favorite round, as the word ‘fartlek,’ which is a Swedish word for ‘speed play’, was featured. As a runner myself, I am quite familiar with the term and was glad to see [that] the sport I love was represented. Also, this round taught me that ‘fluffus’ is a move performed in trampolining, and that fact put it over the edge as my favorite round.” Trexler Trivia’s emphasis on casting a wide net of questions helps every student to come away from the event with a new cache of fun facts and knowledge.
“I really enjoy the fun yet competitive atmosphere everyone brings to trivia night. It’s a great way to celebrate knowledge in an unconventional and enjoyable way.”
Stein is no stranger to public speaking in front of Muhlenberg students, but when asked about how the stress of hosting a large event such as Trexler Trivia compared to delivering a lecture, Stein replied, “[They’re] differently stressful. With a lecture, I know what I am going to talk about and what I am going to say. It was my first time at trivia night, and I had little idea what to expect. Thankfully, the folks at the library organize the trivia contests so well that I quickly felt comfortable with how it all worked.” Stein had someone to look to for advice, as his wife, Sharon Albert, senior lecturer in religion studies, served as host for the fall 2019 iteration of Trexler Trivia.
For those looking ahead to next semester’s trivia night, you’ll have to wait a little longer before you can begin preparing for the new theme. Preparations for the fall 2020 trivia night will begin in the summer, as the 2020-21 academic year trivia committee is formed and begins to meet.