BY SAMANTHA STARK
MSUM may not be experiencing a post-apocalyptic state, scavenging for the last piece of bread or offering tributes to fight until death in an arena. Even with the $5 million budget deficit, MSUM isn’t in their “Dark Days.” However, this didn’t stop the MSUM Residence Hall Association from holding the first “Hunger Games.” There were originally over 125 students participating in the game.
“I decided to participate because it is a chance to partake in a program based on dedication and skill rather than luck,” Matt* said. “Most programs involve random name drawings for prizes.”
The “tributes” are students that live on campus who volunteered and brought one canned food item to the meeting on Nov. 11. The event has taken to MSUM like wildfire. Students all around campus take hasty measures to get a chance to be one of the four courageous young men or women representing MSUM’s first Hunger Games’ victors. In addition, the top four victors can win one of four prizes: A PS3 bundled with Grand Theft Auto V; a Blu-Ray player and $100 in movies that you pick; up to $500 in books from the bookstore and two Justin Timberlake tickets.
MSUM’s Hunger Games is comparable to a giant game of tag where students pretend they are “killing” ther tributes. Each tribute is given a “life ribbon” that they carry with them around campus. It represents the tribute as life and active participation in the game. Each tribute is assigned a name of someone else they are supposed to “kill.” It’s their job to track that assigned tribute down, steal their ribbon and eliminate other tributes from the game. Once a tribute is declared “dead,” they have to give the “killer” their target. The idea is to “kill” as many tributes as possible until there are only four standing. Everyone is a target, and everyone is at risk of being eliminated from the games.
“Once we tag them out, they provide us with the name of the person they were chasing, and that becomes our new target,” Matt said. “On the flip side, there is always one person looking to tag us out.”
If there are multiple tributes left or the final four tributes appear before Dec. 10, the game holds a reaping. They put all final tributes’ name into a lottery for each kill they get. Then they randomly pull names for prizes.
There are safe zones that the tributes can hide out in without the stress of other tributes killing them. The safe zones are located in bedrooms, bathrooms, Kise Commons, classrooms, the Wellness Center, work and anywhere off campus.
“It’s extremely tense. I felt paranoid pretty much every time I left a safe zone,” said elementary education junior Josh Schmitz.
Tributes go through extreme measures to hide their identity, protect their ribbons and hunt down their targets. They have changed their profile names and pictures on all social networks, tracked targets’ class schedules, stalked tributes around campus, found where they live, hide out in their rooms for days, and even ran across campus dodging other tributes.
“I fished around and learned where he lives, when he eats, where his classes are, etc. It’s actually rather creepy,”Schmitz said.
MSUM Residence Hall Association Facebook page posts updates on which tributes are eliminated in the games. Tributes can check how many remaining tributes are to be killed.
“I got caught because my killer found out I give campus tours and must’ve followed me at the very end of it without me knowing, then waited right outside of admissions for when I walked outside,” art education senior Amanda Olson said. “I don’t know how she found out, but she did and got me.”
The latest Facebook post was on Nov. 21 stating that there is only 54 tributes remaining.
The Hunger Games will continue until Dec. 10, unless only four tributes are declared finalists before then.
Watch out challengers, because you never know when you last meal as a tribute will be.
Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
* Information omitted due to the nature of game.