ILCM hosts ping pong tournament for students to relax

Drew Coffey, Reporter

From left, Aidan Gonzalez, a freshman history education major, hits a ping pong ball to Jonathan Kang, a junior economics major, Wednesday night at Immanuel Lutheran campus ministry. (Jenna Minor)

If students at Eastern Illinois University looked for something to do or a place to just relax with friends, they do not have to go too far.  

The Immanuel Lutheran Campus Ministry held a ping pong tournament Wednesday night to all who showed up for the competition.  

The student led organization near Eastern Illinois University’s campus is provided through the Immanuel Lutheran Church and provides students with weekly social activities and opportunities on nights called “Unwind Wednesdays.”  

Will Bryan, a junior computer science major and the leader of the ministry, said that these nights of activities can be an “outlet” for students.  

“As a campus ministry, we’re not only trying to cater towards the spiritual needs of our students, but also the social needs and giving them an outlet to have fun with people that they know,” Bryan said.  

These social events through the church have been going on since before even Bryan started at Eastern.  

Bryan also said that the weekly activities can help Eastern students, including himself, decompress halfway through a stressful and homework-filled semester.  

“We get so busy between classes and other events going on,” Bryan said. “Having just the atmosphere I feel like really helps as well, because it’s a lot of times even if you say, ‘Okay I’m going to spend the evening decompressing and getting like me time,’ I personally don’t then coming here, I’m kind of forced to be in that relaxed mindset.” 

Freshman sociology major Faith Harkey said that she sees the Unwind Wednesdays as a good way to reconnect with others. 

“I feel like when I come here, I just feel calm and not so stressed out about school,” Harkey said. “You also have the opportunity to do schoolwork here which I like and being able to talk to other people like your friends and see how they’re doing throughout the week.”  

According to Brooke Johnston, a senior hospitality management major and another leader of the club, joining the ministry and participating in these events helped her feel more comfortable in college.  

“This is where I really got to know people my freshman year,” Johnston said. “I can do homework here if needed or I might have planned activities, but other times it’s just a place to relax.”  

The organization, despite being church affiliated, welcomes everyone who goes to Eastern to join in on the various themes activities.  

“We allow anyone to come, and we invite everyone,” Johnston said. “We have posters all up on campus social media and we encourage people to attend if they would.” 

The ministry has many upcoming events that are decided and planned by the regular participants of the weekly activities. As this week held ping pong and an escape room the week before, they plan to implement a virtual reality headset in other social gatherings throughout the next few weeks.  


 Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].