One-day tourneys, e-game leagues, TikTok battles; despite challenges, events still being scheduled


Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Detroit Mercy has numerous events planned this semester.

These span from virtual events to socially distanced in-person events.

Some are returning with safety precautions. Others are new.

“I Heart Detroit Mercy,” an online campaign, is underway through Feb. 14.

It’s filled with virtual events and activities, from a TikTok competition to a student-alumni mentoring program, according to Peggy Pattison, alumni relations director.

Pattison said the Detroit Mercy Day Off and Poker Run, set for April 10, is the event she has most enjoyed planning. She thinks it will be the most popular with students.

It starts with a road rally that encourages participants to visits Detroit landmarks, followed by a drive-in showing of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” including a drive-in-style box dinner.

Pattison added that students will be able to compete for prizes.

Planning school events during a pandemic is challenging.

“It’s especially hard to come up with an event that maintains social distance while also being engaging,” she said.

She added that on the virtual end of things, her team had the new challenge to make online events that are unique and interactive similar to the in-person events.

Some events, like the Alumni Achievement Spirit Awards, had to be postponed. It was moved from April to October.

University Recreation has a full schedule this semester, too.

Deanna Blevins, recreation and guest services director, said fitness classes are being offered both in-person and virtually.

Plus, there is a full line up of intramural leagues and one-day tournaments: basketball skills on Feb.17, euchre on March 4, spike ball on March 16, the Unathletic Olympics on March 31, cornhole on April 7 and Nerf Sharpshooter on April 13.

“The biggest challenge is engaging students in a meaningful way while keeping everyone safe,” said Blevins. “Some of their favorite activities just aren’t possible given the current guidelines.”

Despite this, the University Recreation team has worked hard to plan an eventual semester, she said.

Communication is another big struggle, because students aren’t on campus.

“We run on student power,” said Blevins. “With fewer students on campus, there are less to work on campus. On occasion our team members have been asked to quarantine for one reason or another. It can be difficult to keep everything running with fewer team members and extended absences.”

With fewer students, facility hours have been modified based on what days and hours are popular for students.

“There have also been times when the state of Michigan has required us to be closed,” said Blevins

In the fall, her department collaborated with Student Life and Residence Life on some events.

The annual DeStress Fest is going to be incorporated into another collaboration.

Last semester, University Recreation launched an esports program.

This semester, it is growing with more leagues and tournaments scheduled.

Blevins shared that there are leagues for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Valorant, MLB: The Show, FIFA, Pokemon GO and Rocket League.

The tournaments held this semester will be for Fall Guys on Feb. 15, Apex Legends on March 15 and Call of Duty: Warzone on April 12.