Students expected to learn about civic engagement during game night

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

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The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism is hosting a “How Well Do You Know ‘Merica” game night at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Taylor Hall.

The game is intended as a pilot to see if the office will continue to host these game nights as part of a new series they are doing called “Chasing the American Dream.”

The series will focus on the civic engagement part of the office’s name and will span across the next three semesters starting in the fall, said Beth Gillespie, the director of the office of civic engagement and volunteerism, during an April 3 interview.

Gillespie said the series is a way for students to learn about and participate in civic engagement.

During Tuesday’s game night students will play an “I-civics game,” which is an educational and interactive computer game that sees how much people know about various topics surrounding the U.S. government, the Constitution and America in general.

“(The game) reminds me of an updated version of ‘SimCity’ where instead of building a town or roller coaster, you’re building a law practice and you’re hiring lawyers that have different constitutional amendment specialties, and you’re essentially running this law firm (in the game),” Gillespie said.

She said the plot of the game is that people come into the law firm that the player created with problems.

“So people are coming into the law firm (in the game) saying, ‘The government took my house and put soldiers up. Can they do this?’ and you have to connect them with the right attorney to solve their case, and when you win cases you win points,” Gillespie said.

The game takes 30-45 minutes to complete, and Gillespie said it is fast-paced.

Gillespie and Crystal Brown, the assistant director of the office of civic engagement and volunteerism, said food and drinks will be provided at the game night as well as prizes for those who win.

“So we have free food, we have prizes and we have fun. What else do you need?” Gillespie said.

Teams can be made up of one person or up to three people and Brown said if the pilot is successful they will make it as a part of the upcoming series.

Brown said during an April 3 interviews that there are more than just the law firm themed game that they can use for the series but all the games that are available will all pertain to teaching students about civic topics.

Brown said they played the game in the office first and just playing the one they learned so much from it and hope students will as well.

“I can’t imagine how much fun this will be for the students,” Brown said.

Students can RSVP by April 15 at eiu.edu/volunteer or scan the QR code that is on the flyer promoting the “How Well Do you Know ‘Merica?” competition game night.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].