Games, karaoke bring FMU students together

Tim Streit, Staff Writer

Play Out Loud was in full swing last Thursday, Nov. 11 as Francis Marion students gathered at the University Center for a night of board games, karaoke, and socializing.

The event, which was sponsored by the University Programming Board (UPB) and Sigma Gamma Rho (SGR), went off with a bang while attendees lined up for their chance to sing on stage. Others grouped around tables to dig into their favorite board games.

Against the backdrop of constant karaoke serenades of songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “‚ĶBaby One More Time,” dozens of students filled tables to play their favorite board games. Included in the night’s festivities were Twister, Jenga, and Connect Four, as well as good old-fashioned playing cards. Some attendees were just glad to have the chance to play these games with new people.

“Games are awesome, I just don’t have anyone to play with me,” FMU student Katie Cornwell said.

The night certainly provided opportunities for socializing and making new friends, since ultimately the purpose of Play Out Loud was not simply to entertain students. The real goal was to foster a better sense of community.

Originally, two separate events were to be held. SGR planned a game night, while the UPB decided to host a karaoke event. When the groups both realized their events were to be held so close together, they made the decision to combine the two.

Samantha Jones, president of SGR, said this choice resulted from the fact that both organizations had similar goals of helping the campus community.

“What better way than to do it together?” Jones said, while pointing out that this partnership would hopefully set an example for other campus groups to work jointly.

Indeed, many Play Out Loud attendees felt the idea of increased community came across in the event. FMU senior Christopher McKagen said he goes to events on campus often, but at this specific gathering he had noticed around 20 new faces. The offer of popular board games lured some newcomers out, like student Charlie Cutter.

“This is only my first or third event, and I’m a senior,” Cutter said, while noting that he was happy to see the event allowed people an opportunity to meet others.

When asked if he would return for another night of festivities like Play Out Loud in the future, Cutter said not only would he come again, but he would drag more of his friends out with him. 

“It’s not as awkward with the games, since less people are just standing around,” freshman Brittany Collier said, suggesting that the combination of karaoke and board games seemed to suit the event well.

Collier also noted that the event had already helped her meet a new friend who she planned on performing a song with later that night.

The karaoke machine stayed busy all evening, at some points getting the crowd rather enthused, such as when the ladies from the UPB performed an entertaining version of “Lady Marmalade” followed by Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Amanda Morales, executive chair of the UPB, stated that through Play Out Loud she wanted to bring an off-campus experience to campus. Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., this was accomplished Thursday night.