200 Days in the Life of the College

Tueaday, October 12

On Tuesday nights they do sweat the small stuff

By Julia Mulcrone ’11

Who is the most recent person to have achieved a showbiz award grand slam by winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony?

Pass? Then what two Oscar winners for Best Picture have as their title the name of a city?

Entertainment not your field? Then which three nations have the highest sheep-per-person ratio?

Considering the rigors of coursework at Hamilton, it would seem improbable that college students would have enough cerebral energy to consecrate one evening a week to a game based on testing their random knowledge of pop culture, history and geography. But every Tuesday night at The Little Pub, 100 or so students do just that.

Welcome to Trivia Night.

It started in fall 2007 with the help of Paul Ryan ’02, now associate director of annual giving, who was working in the Student Activities Office at the time. He had attended Colgate University’s Trivia Night and wondered if it could possibly catch on at Hamilton. Catch on it did, and Ryan’s still in charge as well. “On the first night we hoped for nine teams, somewhere around 40-50 kids,” he says. “And that night we had 30 teams show up.”

Since its inception, Trivia Night has become so popular that teams congregate outside the pub an hour before it opens in order to snag the best tables. Each team has up to five members and its own original name, like Salvador’s Deli, Giant Pandamonium and Big Kahuna Burger. They spend two hours testing their knowledge of the stuff that really matters.

And that would be, in order: Whoopi Goldberg; Casablanca and Chicago; and New Zealand, Australia and Mongolia.