In 1994, Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, introduced its Cat Cup Challenge. It’s a yearlong residence hall battle and its purpose is to create a sense of unity between the residence hall students.
For Campus Recreation, out of which the Cat Cup was born, it also is a way for the department to live its mission. “We have our motto for our department, Campus Recreation: to have fun and be active,” said Samantha Tabak, the graduate assistant for programming and promotions out of Campus Recreation.
Throughout the school year, students will gather together for challenges like a campus-wide scavenger hunt or trivia nights. Tabak also mentioned a new addition: the Cardboard Canoe Race. “They have to create a canoe out of cardboard and they have to race it in our swimming pool,” she explained.
The Cat Cup Challenge is done through collaboration between Campus Recreation and the Residential Student Association (RSA). Tabak said working with the RSA allows Campus Recreation to have interaction with other departments. This also lives up to the Cat Cup’s initial purpose to build unity across campus, but in now among departments.
Dealing with other departments is perhaps one of the largest challenges Tabak has to face in holding the yearlong competition. She said the Cat Cup isn’t always the highest priority on other staff member’s lists, so reaching out well beforehand and staying on top of communication is essential. “Working with people is just so important and understanding that everyone plays an important piece in your puzzle. And to not take advantage of that,” she said.
Tabak also said they don’t limit who can participate in the Cat Cup. Adelphi has a large commuter student population, and two years ago, the Cat Cup Challenge began to include commuters as their own team; in fact, the commuters won the challenge in 2015. Plus, Tabak explained students don’t have to stick with their particular residence hall if their friends are living in another dorm.
All of the above plays to the simple goal Campus Recreation has: getting students active and having fun. And the Cat Cup is just another way to reach a larger demographic and get them involved. “I think it gives an alternative for that different kind of student to be active and to be a part of something that lasts all year,” said Tabak. “When you’re an athlete, you get to be a part of something that lasts all year because you’re on a team and you train no matter what … [The Cat Cup] caters to everyone on campus. It doesn’t just cater to a select few students.”