Junior Caucus Hosts Virtual Stuy Feud
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“Welcome to Celebrity Family Feud! I'm (your man) Steve Harvey, and we've got another good one for you tonight!” Inspired by the television game show Family Feud, the Events Department of the Junior Caucus hosted a virtual Stuyvesant Feud event on January 29 that was open to participants from all grade levels. A total of 70 participants attended to compete for a $10 Chili’s gift card. As the event was one of the first of its kind at Stuyvesant, it received mixed feedback from both event holders and participants alike.
The event was held online and participants were split into groups of five, competing tournament-style in breakout rooms, each with one or more hosts helping to run the match. Teams had to guess the top four to eight responses to the questions of a school-wide survey distributed prior to the event. The team with the most points at the end of the competition would win. Those who were eliminated could leave or stay behind to watch the other teams. “If [participants] answered correctly, the response was revealed. If they didn’t, the question would go to the other team. After four rounds, the team with the most points would face the other highest scoring teams,” junior and Events Director of the Junior Caucus Cynthia Chang said in an e-mail interview.
To prepare for the event, a sign-up sheet along with a survey of 16 Stuyvesant-themed questions was sent to the student body through e-mail as the family-feud; one question was, for instance, “Name a teacher who would know pop culture.” Additionally, flyers and Instagram posts were created in an effort to reach a greater audience and promote the event. “Arguably the most important aspect of the organization of this event was the advertising. Caucus members developed a poster design, which was then posted around the school,” junior and Co-President of the Junior Caucus Daniel Jung said in an e-mail interview.
Initially, the event holders were worried about maintaining participant engagement. “We had about 70 participants,” Chang said. “While I was a bit scared that it might not be as fun, I was overjoyed to see teams [having] fun with [one another], the hosts, and the questions.”
Encouragement from friends and the desire to try out something new was a strong motivator for many to attend the event. “To be very honest, I wasn’t expecting much and I really wanted to drop out at the last minute, but eventually convinced myself to just try it out and see how it’ll go,” sophomore Jennifer Ye said in an e-mail interview.
While coordinating the event, the Junior Caucus encountered some technical difficulties. “[An] issue that came up was delays in between rounds. Whether it was our fault through disorganization or the fault of Zoom and how hard it is to make breakout rooms, we were left with a good amount of downtime in between rounds,” Jung said.
This issue was resolved by the event organizers as they introduced activities to keep participants engaged while waiting for delays and intermissions to pass. “We found this problem easily resolved thanks to [junior and Co-President of the Junior Caucus] Andrey Sokolov and his GeoGuesser regular account. Furthermore, we were entertained by [junior] Jady Chen playing Google’s Snake Game throughout the intermissions,” Jung said.
Some students enjoyed these improvised performances and acts by the hosts during periods of passing time, especially those who were eliminated early. “I stayed behind in the main room and we started playing geography games, which was extremely fun,” sophomore Unique Zhang said in an e-mail interview.
For some students, the virtual aspect of the event, particularly the Zoom breakout rooms, made their experiences more enjoyable. “The individual breakout rooms of people competing were a lot of fun because it was more interesting to play with smaller groups of people,” junior Lefteri Kapnisakis said in an e-mail interview.
Participants shared thoughts regarding other aspects of the event that could have been improved upon. For those who were eliminated, there was not much to do if they chose to stay in the Zoom meeting. “For people who lost […], maybe planning a second round to extend their playing time would've been nice,” Zhang said.
Additionally, being in an online setting caused a lack of connection between some players and hosts. For some participants, the environment didn’t feel engaging, ultimately resulting in them leaving the event prematurely. “A lot of people did not feel comfortable with turning cameras on. Also, the host seemed to feel uncomfortable and rushed us,” anonymous junior A said in an e-mail interview. “[They] also repeatedly mentioned to us how awkward it was. That did not really help. But, I feel like it could have [just been] our specific host.”
However, the pandemic has limited certain features of the event and made it difficult for the Junior Caucus to hold the event in person. Jung expressed his desire to emulate this event in the future with more engaging props to make it seem more similar to Family Feud. “While we don’t have plans to bring this event back again this year, we would love to hold it in person [and] incorporate more aspects of the game to really immerse the players with things like a physical buzzer, a live studio audience, Steve Harvey, a huge screen, etcetera,” he said.
The perceived biased nature of the event was also a demotivating factor for A. “When I decided to participate, I expected unbiased, fair judgment,” A said. “While the event itself was a fun idea, the environment was not free of bias, and our host was opinionated. [They] awarded ‘free’ points to their preferred team and treated them more amiably overall.”
Besides the hosts, the questions were another factor some participants felt weren’t fair, especially for underclassmen. “We got a category talking about physics, a class we [sophomores] have yet to take, so [juniors] ended up beating us as they had that extra category advantage,” Ye said.
For others, these questions and the answers from students made the event more engaging and interactive on the participants’ end. “The questions and answers came as a surprise as well, which I found very interesting,” sophomore Sophia Zheng said in an e-mail interview. “I felt that having such unique and out-of-the-box answers added to the charm of the event as well.”
Even with all the issues that arose, the overall feedback from participants was positive. “While it was indeed quite biased in favor of those who had better social skills, I’d say the event itself was alright, because it was fairly enjoyable,” A said. “[The event] was certainly more organized than expected, and the game ran pretty well.”
Many participants would be eager to participate if the event were to be held again. “Yes, [I would participate again]. It was fun to be competing with friends and other students, and I'd really hope to win whatever the next well-picked prize is,” Kapnisakis said.