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Stressed students unwind through board games and memes

(Photo Credit / Gaby Davenport)

Most people would not think that analyzing memes and playing Monopoly are ideal stress relievers. However, for the 15 regular members of the Board Game Club (BGC) games provide stress relief, socialization, and an escape from the rigorous college life.

The club was founded about a year ago, but past members had trouble setting up successful meetings since many interested students could not meet at arranged times. 

“At the start of this semester, I revived [the club] like a Phoenix,” said Blake Osman (‘20), club founder. He managed to get a table for the R-Fair where he claimed that turnout was unprecedented.

“I ended up with 50 signatures, so even if a fifth of them showed up, I could still have a healthy club,” he said. A word-of-mouth strategy, carried out by current members and posters alike, has also helped increase membership. Around 70 people have attended their meetings so far.

The group meets twice a week, Monday and Friday evenings, in Room 277 and Room 202 of the Bush Science Center, respectively. 

“The reason [we meet] so often is to give people tons of flexibility [and] opportunities to find a time they can come, with no pressure [to make] it to all the meetings,” said Osman. The BGC prides itself on being an understanding, adjustable organization. 

The group plays games that members bring from home such as Clue, Monopoly, Pictionary, and Risk. Card games and video games are also on the table, including Uno, Mario Party, and the Jackbox Party Pack. The possibilities of the club’s available games are virtually unlimited and dependent on the members.

“It’s only restricted by what people would be willing to play,” said Osman. There has even been a subsidiary group that plays Dungeons and Dragons.

“This has been a place where it’s super easy to make friends and have a community that just wants to hang out and have fun,” said Osman. “We’ll sometimes meet up for lunch or have an impromptu game with some members who happen to be free at the time.”

Manny Solis (‘20) said that he is a part of the club because it allows him to connect with new people. 

“It’s an amazing source of stress relief because, for two hours and 30 minutes of the week, you get to just relax and not worry about anything,” said Solis. “The worries of schoolwork and responsibilities can fade away, and you can truly invest time into your friends while you enjoy a fun board game.” 

Isabella Braga (‘19), chief justice of the Student Government Association and the co-director of Rollins’ Millenium Fellowship cohort, is also a member of the club. 

“It’s funny because the BGC is the last thing people would expect me to enjoy,” she said. “BGC is a place where people who study and work hard take a couple of hours a week to de-stress with jokes and games. It’s, in some ways, more of a family to people.”

Autumn Wilson (‘22), another regular member, said that everyone should experience the BGC at least once. “It’s honestly so much fun and I’ve met amazing friends because of it,” she said. 

“Just knowing how I’m able to help people’s weeks be even just a little better makes all of this worth it,” Osman said. “We have regulars and newbies, but everyone feels welcome and is integrated into the fun. If someone ever needs a rad group of people to relax with, we’re here for them.”

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