New buddies thanks to the Friend-o-matic pub quiz
A little after half past eight in the evening, social work student Aske Meijerink (24) sits behind her laptop with clammy hands, ready to start. It’s the first time she’s had to present in front of such a large group. The kitchen table on which her laptop is placed is rickety, the wires of all the necessary equipment are crossed.
Next to her is Rhea Elderenbosch (21), with whom Aske has organised the Friend-o-matic pub quiz. She is responsible for scoring the more than thirty groups that take part.
The event, meant to bring students in contact with others who are looking for new friends, takes place in Gather, a virtual space where a physical meeting place can be recreated. Participants can sit at different tables and discuss matters with each other using images and sound. Everyone can also create their own avatar and walk around with it. Although it is chaos at the start to get everyone in the right groups, it soon runs smoothly.
One of the participants is 18-year-old Sophiane Munoz, a first-year psychology student. She is assigned to a group with two others. They immediately hit it off, but they also mean business. ‘I wasn’t there to win per se’, she says laughing. ‘But my teammates were super fanatical! We went all out.’
The quiz consists of six different rounds, each with ten questions. Each round has its own category. There are questions about Groningen, there is a ‘where is it’ category and also a ‘who is it’ category. There is a trivia round, there are questions about music and different sounds are played that you have to recognise.
During the break, the participants can go and chat at another table, and they do so en masse: there is a lot of chatter and they’re having fun. Sophiane is also enjoying herself. ‘I’m a first-year student myself and I had expected that there would mainly be other first-years. But there were students of all levels, from all kinds of studies. That was very nice, I think I would never have come into contact with them otherwise.’
After the break, Aske and Rhea get into the groove and their nerves ebb away. ‘The second half flew by’, says Aske. ‘It was so much fun, I just think it’s a pity I couldn’t join in myself.’
For Sophiane, the evening also ends well. She and her team walk away with the first prize: they get to demolish an old car at Autosmash. ‘We were very happy’, she says. ‘A lot of us stayed after the quiz. We’re in a WhatsApp group together now so we can stay in touch.’