The Olympics may be over, but the spirit holds strong in the offices that make up Student Financial Services (SFS). SFS comprises four offices: Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Student Success, and Enrollment Services. But for the SFS Olympics, staff members divided into five teams. Each team was responsible for its own name, flag, and anthem.
For ten highly competitive days, August 8–19, the teams battled it out in competitions such as “Dizzy Pong,” “Fishing for Compliments,” “Loony Balloony,” and “Click Clack Lumberjack.” “The Hunger Games” event even included a catapult created entirely from office supplies. Teams competed in pairs as one launched mini-marshmallows into the mouths of their counterpart.
Competitions were held daily at 12:30–1:00 with athletes being superb team members, taking turns to cover the phones and walk-ins for the offices, which ensured no service disruption. At the conclusion of each event, victors were presented with their medals and the gold medal national anthem was played.
While the athletes were fierce, the true gold-medal winners of these games were the organizers, Nathan Magnuski (Student Success) and Tim Blank (Student Accounts). Nathan and Tim served as the game creators, officiators, photographers, and post-event reporters. Tim handmade all of the medals and reused the Olympic torch and flag that he had made for the 2014 Student Service Center Winter Olympics. When asked about why they volunteered to organize all of the events, Nathan said, “August is, by and large, a very stressful time for the SFS staff and smiles and laughter become a rare commodity.” Tuition bills were due August 1, so the events definitely offered some stress relief.
At the end of each day, Tim sent a recap of the day’s event, pictures, and a teaser of the next event. He said in his final commentary, “The athletes showed great physical and metal prowess throughout all of the games. They experienced the triumphs of victory, the agony of defeat, and the embarrassment of cell phone cameras as they gloriously battled for the smallest taste of Olympic victory. To say that ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ were shed only tips the iceberg of their competitive spirit, heroic achievements, and minutes of preparation put into each hard-fought contest.”
Kellie Fuller (Enrollment Services)