Donning a bright Gator-blue suit and tie, Gus Davis greeted a virtual crowd of more than 100 people on the video streaming app Twitch Thursday night.
Davis hosts a UF Student Government-funded virtual trivia night on Twitch for UF students every Thursday at 8 p.m during Summer A, said Virginia Howell, Student Body President Trevor Pope’s chief of staff. The events cost SG $11,000 to produce, and are paid for with student fees.
Students have the chance to win $10, $20 or $50 Amazon gift cards during each show. About 20 gift cards are given away.
SG paid Everything But The Mime, an entertainment agency, to host all of the game shows, according to Howell.
The game shows are funded by SG agency programs funding, which was awarded more than $64,000 for the 2019-2020 school year from the total SG budget of more than $6 million.
To play, students must create a free Twitch account at Twitch.tv, and click the link on the SG site to join, Howell said. The show includes five rounds of trivia, including general trivia questions ranging from topics like movies and science to UF-themed trivia on history and sports.
It runs for about an hour, and students can interact with the game show live by clicking the answers. Prizes are given to students who win trivia or “chat box challenges,” Howell said.
If a student wins, their UFL email is used to verify that they are a student. The Amazon gift card will be sent virtually to their UFL email, Howell said.
There will also be an entire night dedicated to trivia about the university, although the date has not been confirmed yet, Howell said. The last game night will be June 25.
Anybody can watch and play in the game show, including non-UF students, but only UF students can win, Howell said. Two people who work for the company monitor the chat box and who is watching the game show to make sure students are safe, Howell said.
SG and the university faced online security issues in Spring after a virtual Senate meeting, classes and university-related events were “Zoom bombed,” or hacked. Hackers showed offensive images like pornography, racial slurs and swastikas.
The second night of the game show, May 21, had about 100 students in attendance.
During the show, recordings of student leaders talking about opportunities for COVID-19 relief funding played. Pope talked about future programming events, and Senate President Kyle Garner spoke about opportunities for emergency funding, like SG’s rent relief fund, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and Aid-a-Gator.
Walter Sanchez, an 18-year-old UF industrial systems and engineering sophomore, heard about the trivia night on Twitter after SG posted a video of Kayla Kalhor, a UF student who participated in the Jeopardy!, talking about the game show. Kalhor participated on May 14.
Thursday was Sanchez’s second time playing, he said. Sanchez said he likes the game show because of Davis’ humor and the questions teach him more about UF. It also appreciates that it gives him a break from his physics and financial accounting Summer classes, he said.
Sanchez plays the game show with his friends every Thursday night, he said. They connect through FaceTime because they’re all social distancing.
Although he hasn’t won any prizes yet, he plans to keep participating in the rest of the events.
“I keep trying, but I’m going to win eventually,” he said.
Contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.
The game shows are streamed on Twitch every Thursday during Summer A.
Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.