Some Ohio State students are hoping the odds will be ever in their favor.
They might not be fighting to the death, but 28 OSU students are set to have the opportunity to battle for honor, glory and the benefit of their community food bank in the second annual Honor Games.
The Honor Games, set for March 1, put a Buckeye spin on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy “The Hunger Games.” Students compete in a friendly competition between residence halls and off-campus area with the main goal being to collect as many food donations as possible.
“The Honor Games is a unique experience for the Buckeye community where we focus on creating bonds between the residence hall complexes and the off-campus district while focusing on a community need by donating canned food to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank,” said Brett Baughman, head gamemaker for the OSU Honor Games and a fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability.
The community service portion of the games began the week before Thanksgiving as students collected canned and nonperishable food items in bins in the residence halls to gain points for their tributes. As of Jan. 26, more than 610 pounds of food had been collected. Last year’s residence hall residents collected just less than 1,100 pounds of canned goods to donate to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
“Seeing as it’s pretty obvious that we took the theme from ‘The Hunger Games’ books, we thought what better way than to actually make (The Honor Games) about hunger. We wanted some kind of transferrable component for the tributes in our games so we started talking about a food drive,” said Leslie Robinson, residence hall director and adviser for the Honor Games.
Students signed up online by Nov. 17 to be put in the running to compete in the Honor Games. One male and one female tribute from each residence hall or “district” were reaped from the pool of candidates and chosen to enter the Honor Games. Residence halls compete against one another to collect the most canned food to earn advantages for their tributes.
For every pound of food their residence hall collects, the tributes gain five points. At the end of the food drive on Sunday, those points will be tallied up and used to purchase different items and advantages for tributes to use inside the arena.
The games are held at Camp Kern in Oregonia, Ohio. Tributes are bussed there to play the Honor Games in an arena created by the game engineers. Last year’s arena included a Cornucopia, “killer skeleton-man” and fallen tribute zombies.
Baughman said those who witnessed last year’s Honor Games should expect something new this year, though.
“We are keeping some elements of ‘The Hunger Games’ involved, though the games themselves are completely different,” Baughman said. “There’s a back story this year, the way the games are played out is different, so things that you saw last year and might be expecting this year will be irrelevant because it’s a completely new game type.”
There is also an educational component to the Honor Games, where tributes work with their residence hall councils to plan programming focused on hunger issues
Last year’s victor, current second-year in biology Devon Dishman, said his incentive to compete in the games was partially because he thought it would be a fun athletic activity, but also because of the $500 book scholarship sponsored by Barnes & Noble at the OSU Bookstore that is awarded to the winner. Dishman had been awarded an extra life in the games because his dorm, Taylor Tower, collected the most canned food.
A feature-length film of last year’s games was created and is currently viewable on the Honor Games website. The premiere of the 2014 OSU Honor Games movie is slated to be held at the Gateway Film Center April 8 at 8 p.m.