Nearly 10 years ago, Laura Hertel was answering all types of questions during the Second Chance Trivia Night. After a night of fun, Hertel had a thought – why couldn’t the School of Natural Resources (SNR) do something similar as a fundraising opportunity?
Hertel, senior student service coordinator in SNR, pitched the idea to the Natural Resources Alumni Association board, with the goal of raising money for student scholarships, and was met with a positive response. After much preparation, the first Trivia in the Wild event, hosted by the Natural Resources Alumni Association, was held in 2010.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s always a lot of fun,” Hertel said. “There is a lot that goes into this event that I never would have dreamed of, but we’ve learned along the way. Our favorite part is seeing the interactions between the faculty, staff and students in a very laid-back setting. Everyone is out there having a great time and they’re supporting our students in an important way.”
Trivia in the Wild will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020 with a new goal – raising $10,000. That amount will allow the group to endow the Laura J. Hertel School of Natural Resources Alumni Scholarship, which goes to incoming SNR students.
“All of the proceeds from this event, such as the entry fees and raffle tickets, have gone back to our students in the form of scholarships,” said Jenna Fusinatto, academic advisor in SNR. “Recently, we saw a need with our incoming students, who also need support. We’ve revamped the scholarship a little bit to focus on those students.
“This scholarship and the donations are a really great way to get involved and help a student out.”
Fusinatto actually served as a student ambassador when Hertel first started planning Trivia in the Wild in 2010. The event was first held at the Bradford Research Center.
“We had a great group of student ambassadors who really helped push the event through,” Hertel said. “They did so many things that I never even thought about.”
“For me, those early experiences with Trivia in the Wild really helped me grow,” Fusinatto added. “I was a shy student, and this event really helped me jump out of my comfort zone. I was a Parks, Recreation and Sport student, and one of my closest friends got a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. Trivia in the Wild is a great opportunity to meet so many great people.”
Trivia in the Wild is open to the public and is now held at the Knights of Columbus building. Guests can buy an entire table or buy in as an individual. Trivia players can bring their own food and drinks and decorate their table. Hertel prepares the questions beforehand and has done so since the event began.
“Some of the teams who have been with us since the beginning say that if there is a question about a state, and they don’t know the answer, it’s going to be Wisconsin – since that’s where I’m from,” Hertel said. “I try to have around 12 or so categories. We have a group of people who review the questions. We grab some pizza and go to my house to look things over. I have people from all generations, too, so there’s a good group of opinions.”
Sharon Burnham, office support assistant in SNR, serves as the judge for the event. Zach Paul, chief meteorologist with KRCG, has been the emcee for the past few years. Paul received his atmospheric sciences degree from MU.
“Sharon has been amazing over the years serving as the judge,” Hertel said. “She hasn’t missed an event. Zach brings so much energy as the emcee. He makes things really fun.”
Along with trivia, there are a few side games throughout the event, as well as several raffle prizes. Attendees can buy tickets and put them in buckets in front of prizes they are interested in. Trivia in the Wild ends handing out some of the bigger raffle prizes.
This year’s event will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, at the Knights of Columbus building in Columbia. Teams can start registering now, by contacting Hertel at email@example.com or 573-882-1730. Hertel and Fusinatto are looking for raffle prizes and possible sponsors for the event as well.
“We’ve appreciated the support over the years, and we look forward to continuing this fun event,” Hertel said. “It’s great to see the CAFNR and SNR faculty, staff, students and alumni come together and have a fantastic time.”