Dedicated gamers find a groove at Malpass

Jeffery Knicks never misses Game Nite. Neither do Alexander Kozlowski, Lindsay McGeever or Michael Bordowitz.Every month, these students and about 50 others come to the third floor of the Leslie F. Malpass Library to participate in classic board games and battle one another at Rock Band or Wii Sports Resort, and Thursday, Nov. 5, was no different.

“I love it. It’s a lot of fun,” said McGeever, sophomore forensic chemistry major.

She and her cohorts regularly attend Game Nite to compete with each other in chess or Rock Band and put down their books.

Kozlowski, senior law enforcement and justice administration major, also frequents Game Nite with friends, but they spend the majority of their time playing Magic: The Gathering, a fantastical card game. The Western Illinois University Magic Players Organization uses Game Nite as a venue to sharpen their skills.

The opportunity of periodical gaming is not just reserved for university students. Families, children and high school students are also encouraged to join the fun.

“This is the best thing Macomb has to offer me,” said Mariah Collins, a Macomb High School freshman.

Collins and her friend, MHS sophomore Keegan Bell, discovered Game Nite via a series of text messages.

Recently, the Western Illinois University Libraries have looked for ways to unite the school and the surrounding community by including student organizations in the operation of Game Nite.

“Since I’ve been brought into the organization, this is the first time we’ve used student organizations like fraternities and sororities to supplement,” said Stephen Taylor, junior political science major and the action administrator for Game Nite. “It’s a good opportunity to work with the community in a non-traditional way.”

The sororities Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Sigma Tau and Phi Sigma Sigma volunteered Thursday by setting up, playing games with the participants and painting little figurines.

“My major requires a lot of volunteering, so this is a good way to kill two birds with one stone,” said Monica Bromber, senior dietetics major and a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma.

Nevertheless, Game Nite did not start out by inspiring a connection between the public and the university. Adopted from a similar program at University of Illinois-Champaign, it started two years ago as a means for students to relax and socialize.

Senior Library Specialist Julie Hannen, the director of Game Nite, not only believes in the function’s ability to create bonds but also in its cultural and intergenerational ties.

“There is one family where the mom brings the children to Game Nite while the father studies,” Hannen said.

Hannen also mentioned that one night she was playing cards with international students, and they taught each other games from their cultures with a deck of cards.

To its partakers, Game Nite is a way to make acquaintances and friendships. It also provides an escape from studying and entertainment normally not found at the library. To the Western Illinois University Libraries, it is a simple yet effective way to join the Macomb community with the university campus.

The Malpass Library hosts Game Nite the first Thursday of every month from 7-10 p.m. For more information, contact Hannen at 309/298-1105 or J-Hannen@wiu.edu.