Daily double: Elon students bet it all in environmentally-themed trivia

Sophomore Kim Lilienthal writes the answer to the jeopardy question on a whiteboard used at Environmental Jeopardy April 11. Photo by Gloria So, staff photographer.
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For one night only, Belk Pavilion was transformed into a game show set for an environmental-themed trivia event. Students from across campus gathered to participate in Environmental Jeopardy, a trivia game with the goal of raising awareness about environmental issues.

The event, co-hosted by Elon’s Amnesty International and Sierra Club chapters, also aimed to educate students about the role sustainability plays in their individual lives.

Freshmen Rachel Mehaffey and Sarah Paterson high-five April 11 at the environmentally-themed Jeopardy Night. The event was organized by the Sierra Club and Amnesty International. Photo by Gloria So, staff photographer.

“I think we have a responsibility to educate people about how to live responsibly, and that includes a lot of the day to day choices that (students) make,” said junior Rachel Stanley, co-coordinator of Amnesty International.

The event’s organizers hoped to attract students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, despite the common perception that sustainability is a more scientific topic, Stanley said.

“You don’t have to be very involved professionally or academically in science to learn more about this (topic), and to live a more sustainable life,” Stanley said.

The organizers said they hoped that its casual format would make the event attractive to those who didn’t have much knowledge of the topics discussed or experience with trivia games.

Participants of the April 11 event formed three teams and answered questions within the categories of sustainability, energy efficiency, environmental justice and alternative energy.

The final category was centered on ways Elon supports and promotes themes of environmental sustainability. It called attention to on-campus composting locations, the community garden and Zimrides, Elon’s ride-sharing program.

Participants of the event said they were particularly surprised by how much they learned about the university’s sustainability initiatives and were appreciative of the fun and laid-back setting in which this information was provided.

“I think it was nice that it wasn’t really competitive and you didn’t feel (bad) if you said the wrong thing,” said junior Elissa Krapf, who decided to attend the event after hearing about it from a friend in Amnesty International.

The idea to raise awareness through a Jeopardy-style game was inspired by the success of trivia nights hosted by local restaurants and other campus organizations, according to Stanley.

“The beauty of the trivia set-up is that it’s not a lecture, it’s not (the same as) reading a book, but you can pull out really fun and interesting facts pertinent to people’s everyday lives,” she said.

The winners of each round of trivia were awarded environmental awareness themed prizes. Reusable eating utensils and sandwich bags, gift certificates to Company Shops Market in Burlington and coffee mugs made of recyclable materials were among the prizes.

Although the game, which was planned as an early tribute to Earth Week, was intended to be fun and engaging, Stanley said she hopes those who participated left with a better understanding of the issues raised throughout the evening.

Being a student at a liberal arts university that provides education about environmental issues means having a responsibility to live in a way that reflects an understanding of these issues, she said.

“I’m lucky enough to go to a school (that promotes) this type of education, and I think that creates a responsibility for me to learn how to reduce my impact,” Stanley said.

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