Most Outstanding Social Event - Gauntlet: The Hunger Games
Provide a detailed description of the event and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), and marketing techniques.
Gauntlet is one of XULAVA’s well known events. Each year, XULAVA’s EBoard comes up with a certain theme and plans an entire day full of activities based on the theme. For this year’s theme, we based it off of The Hunger Games, where we ultimately tested each participant’s both physical and mental skills. Different VSAs, such as TUVA, VSA LSU, UNO VASA, AND VSOUL came out to participate in this year’s Hunger Games as well as a team of current XULAVA members and a team of alumnis. Gauntlet was on March 25th at Avenger Park and had a little over 30 participants. We had a total of 6 teams with 6 members each. Each team represented a different District and carried a flag that represented their District. Every team flag was made by XULAVA’s EBoard.
The purpose of this year’s Gauntlet: The Hunger Games was to promote teamwork and enhance both the leadership and communication skills of all participants. We created difficult and enduring games based off of the storyline of the Hunger Games. For example, we had each team go through a grueling obstacle course, which consisted of throwing weights, which acted as bags of flour, archery, and more. We even had a tent game, where we had all of the participants were blindfolded except for one teammate. This teammate wasn’t allowed to assemble the tent, yet he/she was able to give directions, which ultimately tested each team’s communication skills. These games followed the Hunger Games storyline in how these games were for training for the Hunger Games. This year’s Gauntlet had Big Games, which was the Hunger Games. Each team had a sister team and had to work with the sister team to get through a mine game, where they would have to figure out a certain combination to save both of their sick teammates and not step on a mine. Big Games ended with the Arena, where each team fought against each other with Nerf guns, shields, dodgeballs, etc. We also wanted to promote networking for our XULAVA members. Through Gauntlet, they were able to interact with other VSAs first hand and create new friendships. We were also successful in reconnecting the different VSAs together and promoting friendly competition between them.
In terms of marketing techniques, we utilized both Facebook and Instagram. We constantly posted about the Gauntlet each week and reminded people to sign up for Gauntlet since there were only 6 available spots. On Instagram, we initiated a Gauntlet: The Hunger Games countdown to get both our members and other VSAs hyped up about the event. We even posted a promotional video of last year’s Gauntlet to encourage people to sign up for this year’s Gauntlet. We even posted flyers all around Xavier’s campus to encourage on campus students to form a team and sign up.
For resources, we utilized both Xavier’s Student Government Association (SGA) and XULAVA’s Treasury. At the beginning of January, we sent in our budget to SGA, and we were fortunate enough to have funds approved for Gauntlet. We also took money out of our treasury to pay for certain game materials that weren’t covered under the budget. We charged each team $30 ($5 per teammate), which covered the cost of materials and food that was provided during the event. We provided chicken and fried rice from Manchu’s as well as a variety of fruits and water for our participants.
What efforts were used to motivate and involve the organization's members?
We encouraged our members to sign up by showing them the Gauntlet video from last year as well as telling them that the winners of Gauntlet would receive both a certificate and Mikimoto’s gift card. We also motivated them to create a team by saying that other VSAs would show up to participate. This intrigued them in a way that they wanted to interact with other VSAs within the Gulf Coast region. Our members ultimately stepped outside of their comfort zones at Gauntlet. They talked to members of different VSAs and created new friendships.
How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the event?
There were many challenges that arose in planning for Gauntlet. EBoard only had a month to plan very complicated games including dry running and buying game supplies. For this, we had multiple efficient EBoard meetings every week that would last up to 3 hours each in order to perfect Gauntlet. Gauntlet required a lot of thinking and effort put into each game to ensure that each participant learned something valuable about teamwork and communication while also having fun. We met up on the weekend to dry run a few of the games and even showed up to Avenger Park at 6am on the day of Gauntlet to dry run the games again for our participants. Another challenge was that the Park Rangers said that we were unable to use our pool because it was a safety hazard. For our pool, we didn’t intend to use it for swimming but rather we intended it for the teams to go into the pool to look for stones. We ensured the Park Rangers that our members would be safe and even showed them the waivers that we had each participant sign before the event. During Gauntlet, people were injured while playing certain games. Each EBoard member had a first aid kit on hand, and we even had ice in our coolers just in case of injuries. Lastly, random kids at the park would play with our game setups. We calmly talked to the parents of the kids and told them how hard we worked for the event, and we didn’t want want to see their kids get hurt. We also told them that we could not be liable for the safety of their kids if something were to happen.