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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Trivia Night at Donovan’s Pub: Food, Competition and Good Energy

Mark DiOrio / Colgate University

Every Thursday night at 8 p.m., Colgate University’s Donovan’s Pub — widely known as Donnie’s — hosts Trivia Night. Students order food and create unique team names, such as “The Golden Burgers” and “Toxic Mac.”  

Donovan’s multi-leveled floor plan creates the perfect trivia setup. This partially raised area makes it easy to see everyone’s boards as they lock in their answers by simply raising their whiteboard on which they have written “A,” “B,” “C” or “D.” While submitting answers may be easy, the actual questions are not. This past Thursday, the theme was “Marvel,” so questions discussed the entire cinematic universe: characters, plot details, revenues and Stan Lee. For example, one of the questions asked, “What Marvel film was the first to make a billion dollars at the box office?”.

Trivia Night at Donnie’s welcomes new and returning fans. Some students, like junior Bri Liddell, have established teams and have been coming for several years. 

“I’ve been coming to trivia since my first week of freshman year,” Liddell said. “[It] was in a tent out in the parking lot because of COVID-19 and, now, here we are inside of Donovan’s [Pub], two and a half years later.”  

First-years Vee Atkinson and Sydney Graham have similarly taken up Trivia Night as somewhat of a tradition, as they have been a few times this semester and plan on continuing to go on Thursdays, coordinating team plans with their friends.

People love Trivia Night at Donnie’s for a multitude of reasons, one of which being the food at the pub. 

“I like Trivia [Night] because it gives you something to look forward to on Thursdays,” Graham said. “And I get good food.”

Atkinson shared a similar thought on the allure of Donnie’s cuisine.

“I love the food, and I like just testing my knowledge on random stuff,” Atkinson said. “You also get to bond with people.” 

The community is another big draw for Trivia Night at Donnie’s. Atkinson now recognizes some recurring faces and teams weekly and has familiarized herself with some of them.

“I see their group all the time and we’re friends with them,” Atkinson said, pointing to another group of trivia-goers.

First-year Isabelle Fries keeps coming back for the people who fill Donovan’s Pub each Thursday night.

“It’s a good community; the environment here is fabulous and very energetic,” Fries said. “While I am just observing tonight and not playing, I can feel a sense of community. Everyone has their different teams, but there is definitely camaraderie between the groups.”

This community is built on trust and a mutual understanding that while things may get competitive, cheating is not acceptable. 

“I like the vibe. I feel like people are pretty competitive […], but people don’t cheat,” Atkinson said.

While bragging rights are definitely a large part of the motivation for doing well, $20 in “Gate Cash” is a big draw for students.  

“I have like $100 of laundry money at this point, and it’s just because of trivia,” Liddell said. “I just have to keep sustaining it, and I’ll have [money for] laundry forever.”

Liddell has a regular team that has been coming for years, but this week was a mix of different groups because members were busy with midterm assignments.

“We are kind of a mash of teams coming together to win,” Liddell said. 

Trivia topics rotate, so Liddell has experienced some topics multiple times throughout her years of playing. Recurring topics include sports, “Harry Potter,” rom-coms, Colgate history and cultural language. 

“I’m still terrible at sports trivia, but for ‘Marvel,’ for example, sometimes I’ve heard the same questions every semester, so I feel like I definitely get better at certain topics,” Liddell said. 

Liddell felt her Donnie’s trivia experience come full circle this past Thursday when the theme was the same as her first Trivia Night over two years ago.

“Things rotate a lot […]. It’s actually kind of fun because that first trivia [my first year] was ‘Marvel’ themed, [and now it’s] two and a half years later and it’s the same theme,” Liddell said.

Thursday Trivia Night at Donnie’s is a staple on Colgate’s campus and is a tradition for many students such as Liddell and newcomers such as first-year Alexis Fingerman, who spent this first Trivia Night taking in the crowd from the sidelines. 

“Good energy, good food — an overall good time,” Fingerman said. “I will definitely play next time and hope to make this a tradition.”

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