How to Run a 500 Student Hunger Games (with Maximum Fun & Minimal Injuries)

How to Run a 500 Student Hunger Games (with Maximum Fun & Minimal Injuries)

As a capstone to Orientation+, Booth’s almost 600 First Years (1Ys) engage in an epic evening of athletic and physical competition. Off the wave of the Triwizard Tournament at LOR (the 3 day, 2 night Leadership Orientation Retreat), defeated cohorts Davis, Gargoyles, Harper, Maroons, Nobels, Phoenix, Stuart, and Walker were itching for a rematch while victors Bond and Rockefeller were ready to defend their titles at any cost.

The Graduate Business Council (GBC), Booth’s student government, hosts community events such as these to build camaraderie and spirit amongst various large groups (years, cohorts*, affinity, etc) on campus. I’ll take you through the end-to-end planning process for how we made sure this event ran smoothly.

Constructing the Arena
Planning for this keystone event starts early. In winter quarter, the contract and details for the venue gets renewed. Looking at the rather large cost, newly elected Graduate Business Council (GBC) president Drew Godwin, Grad Council (GC) rep Phoebe Chen, and I hypothesized we could probably negotiate our way to a better deal.



Classroom lessons applied! 25% off the venue, sporting equipment, and food & beverage with the venue translated into a 100% on our final paper




Pre-Orientation Logistics
After getting back to Chicago after leading Random Walk Vietnam, LEAD facil and fellow GBCer John Kapnick and I work to make sure day-of and pre-event logistics are set. We set up the registration infrastructure (to determine how many buses picked up from MPP – a downtown location where many of our classmates live vs. Hyde Park – another popular neighborhood closer to campus), recruit 2Y referees, and revisit the rules of all the events to maximize participation and involvement.

Over 550 First Years (1Ys) and partners registered this year from 425 last year. We knew it’d be a packed house!

Training the Tributes
Inspired as I am by film greats like Summit Entertainment’s Hunger Games Quadrilogy, I tried something new this year with the cohort captains. Last year, when I volunteered as tribute for Harper (best cohort ever), all I had to do was sign cohort-mates up for events and really didn’t meet the other captains. By gathering the captains into a GroupMe the weekend before, I could not only communicate about logistics, etc., but also gave captains a forum for the competitive egging-each-other-on that got everyone excited for the event.


The sass and photos from this group are amazing. I will reread when I am sad after Booth is over. :’(



Happy Hunger Games!
These photos don’t do justice for the event but it went over very well. I was not stressed (anyone who says I was is lying), no one was severely injured, and I only got one complaint about the scoring.

From hype-up pre-events to bus songs to impromptu dance parties, I’ll say this year’s Hunger Games was a smashing success.

Washing the Blood Off Our Hands
After awarding Maroons the victory (a repeat of last year), volunteers and event organizers all hung out together until midnight. Nothing quite bonds you like being in the middle of 100 rabid 1Ys screaming at you over your call on whether the ping pong ball hits the table – thanks for taking that one Katie!


Refs needed a stiff drink post event after the horrors that we witnessed






The Cohort Cup continues through the fall with competitions that include both 1Ys and 2Ys, during the Winter with more cerebral competitions (trivia), and culminates on the beach in the spring (Olympics).

* As a point of clarification, while Booth does not require that core classes be taken with the same cohort of ~60 students, Boothies do take one leadership class as well as go through Orientation+ with this cohort. Events throughout the year organized by GBC (e.g. Cohort Cup) and by cohort leadership keep bonds strong.