Beating the boredom with creativity on campus

The Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus was transformed into a playground last Wednesday by spirited and energetic students looking for a change of pace.

Colourful balloons, laughter and the scent of popcorn drifted throughout the main floor of the building where students congregated for an afternoon of fun, games and community building. Activities on offer included everything from life drawing sessions to a massive twister game and even a larger-than-life Guitar Hero video game tournament on the big screen in the Price Family Cinema.

Above: Students square off and show their Guitar Hero expertise on the big screen in the Price Family Cinema

Upstairs in the Martin Family Lounge, lounging was the name of the game, with piles of pillows arranged for maximum comfort. Those looking for action rather than relaxation were engaged by karaoke, music jam sessions and board games.

This self-professed “par-tay” was organized by a group of upper-year students involved in the Fine Arts Student Ambassador & Mentoring (FASAM) program. They dubbed the event Untitled: Fun and planned an array of activities to beat the boredom they saw setting in on campus.

The FASAM program is run through the Faculty of Fine Arts Office of Student & Academic Services, managed by Lynda Tam.

Left: Students play musical chairs

“Checking in with the thoughts and opinions of the FASAMs is one of the ways we keep in touch with what’s happening with our students,” said Tam. “When asked how they were coping without classes, the majority of the team expressed boredom. This event came into being as a resilience response to that.”

“I think it was about time to make something like this happen on campus,” said Sky Fairchild-Waller, chair of the organizing committee. “It’s great to see students getting out of isolation and reinvigorating the student life that has been put on hold.”

Fairchild-Waller, a fourth-year dance student, kept the day’s events flowing, making announcements about what was next in the schedule, building enthusiasm and providing comic relief.

The event was open to all York students, with a special invitation extended to those living in residence.

John Chui, a fifth-year biology student, ducked out of the free screening of movie Across the Universe in the Price Family Cinema to get in on the tug-of-war action. “I found out about the event on Facebook,” he said. “I saw the posting and said hey, this looks like something fun to do.”

Above: John Chui gives it his all during a tug-of-war

Mary Ho, a fourth-year visual arts major, also heard about the event on Facebook. “I was planning on being on campus anyway,” she said. “This seemed like a good opportunity to see my friends and have some fun.”

Ho lost her seat early in the game of musical chairs. Together with a growing number of people waiting on the sidelines, she found a new game: tossing balloons towards the chairs and the remaining players. As the balloon throwers outnumbered the musical chair players the chaos increased, with balloons literally filling the air.

Ho went on to become a finalist in the highly competitive Twister game. Participants bent into all sorts of pretzel shapes as the hands and feet colour positions were called out with increasing speed.

Sarah Mersereau, a third-year theatre production student, especially enjoyed the musical chairs and the life drawing sessions. “We should do things like this during the school year,” she said. “It would be a great way to break up the stress.”