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Promoting community pride at Dogapalooza 2014

Not surprisingly, the “Super Smash Bros.” Tournament had best attendance

Allison Opitz

Contributing Writer

 Last week’s annual Residential Life tournament encouraged residential student involvement in friendly competition.

Last week, yellow signs with the word “DOG” were mysteriously posted across the residence halls, and most students probably pondered them only briefly before hurrying to their classes for the day. Later, in emails to residential students, it was revealed that Dogapalooza 2014, the annual residential life tournament, was coming.

Susquehanna Hall’s Community Director Malissa Rivera, sporting her orange Orioles-style Susquehanna T-shirt, described Dogapalooza as a way to “encourage community pride” and friendly competition between the residence halls. It also promotes unity and the formation of an identity within Residential Life.

The events kicked off at noon on Wednesday with an inflatable obstacle course on Erickson field, which also brought a crowd of commuters who wanted to participate. Later that evening was Pawpular Bingo followed by glow-in-the-dark Ultimate Frisbee — a nighttime adaptation of one of the most popular extracurriculars on campus.

Despite the chilly, gray weather on Thursday, the photo scavenger hunt still drew quite a few devoted residents. Breana Echols, a sophomore political science major and director of communication for RSA, handed out clues to out-of-breath participants wearing flags with their residential hall’s colors. “We’re celebrating it all,” she said. “It’s a way to build community spirit at UMBC.”

Nelson Martinez, a junior environmental science major, and Arjun Reichmann, an undecided junior, participated in the scavenger hunt together but supporting different halls. Nelson said he wished “everyone else could get out and have fun.” Before running off to the volleyball court to earn their next clue, Arjun said “Susquehanna is the best dorm ever.”

Other students agree with Nelson. Daniel Stopher, a freshman mechanical engineering major, says that “there’s no point of not going to something.” He participated in the obstacle course, watermelon eating contest, inflatable jousting and the “Super Smash Brothers” tournament, and he met several new students along the way.

This year, Dogapalooza took place in the fall instead of the RSA Block Party, which resulted in a much higher turnout than in the past. According to Kevin Williams, the CAB President of the apartments and a senior sociology major, the “most popular was the ‘Super Smash Brothers’ tournament, which lasted for four hours. This is the most student engagement since I’ve been here.”

“The executive board worked really hard all summer,” Williams said. The final event, where the winner was announced, was the community picnic outside of True Grit’s on Saturday. There was free popcorn, lawn games, a DJ, cookout food, free T-shirts and a huge trophy for the winning community.

Dogapalooza fosters community pride beyond these events. All students can participate in their community action boards, which allow them to provide input and even plan events within and between communities. Kelsey Goering, RSA’s co-advisor, wants everyone’s input: “Every resident is a member of RSA.”