Chicago: The Best City to Spend Your Summer

By: Christina Han

In recent news, Chicago was ranked as the number one best college town to spend your summer in, which only makes sense. What makes Chicago so great is that the summer is a beautiful reward for the long and grueling winters it’s infamous for. If you were to ask any Chicago native what their favorite part about Chicago is, they would most likely answer with “the summer.” The second it gets a tad bit warmer, you instantly see a lot more people walking in the streets, going for a jog, or walking their dogs. It is always nice to come out of hibernation after a long and cruel winter. Granted, Chicago is the third biggest city in the United States, so there’s a ton of things to do during the summer.

When it comes to outdoor activities, Chicago has a wide variety of options. Lake Michigan, for one, is open during the summer. When on the beach, you will find lots of people laying out under the sun, playing beach volleyball, and having picnics. What’s so cool about Chicago’s “beach” is that you get the entire skyline while lying out in the sand, which you don’t see every day (or really anywhere else). If not on the beach, people are most likely walking, jogging, running, rollerblading, or biking by the lakefront (this is when you’ll probably realize just how many people were deprived of their daily exercise with the amount of people that’ll be out and about).

Aside from the beach, there are plenty of places near the lakefront that are prime destinations and, not to mention, free! The Lincoln Park Zoo, for example, is very close to the beachfront and also includes free admission! Just like the beach, it’s an interesting sight to be looking at giraffes and lions while simultaneously being able to see the city skyline in the background. Right next to the zoo is the Lincoln Park observatory, which is also free. It’s home to hundreds of different plants and flowers from all over the world! It’s a wonderful sight to see in the summer, especially since all the flowers are in full bloom.

Aside from activities held in Lincoln Park, there are plenty of events that will be held all across Chicago. When it comes to food festivals, there are more than you can imagine. The biggest and most popular is “Taste of Chicago” that takes place downtown in Grant Park and showcases the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. It’s a 3-day long festival, which includes live music performances and hundreds of different restaurants from all over Chicago showcasing their awesome food! Also, this happens to be the world’s largest food festival and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Along the lines of food, there are various food festivals that happen in different neighborhoods of the Chicago region. At the beginning of June, there’s the “Flavors of Mexico” festival held in Little Village. The focus of this festival is the authenticity of Mexican food, which is highly adored by most Chicagoans. During mid-June there’s the “Taste of Randolph”, which focuses on the neighborhood of the West Loop and all of the famous restaurants near the location. This is an event to promote the best restaurants of the West Loop region. This is just a taste of the food festivals Chicago has to offer – there’s even more festivals to be found online!

Aside from the numerous food festivals, there are plenty of music festivals all across the city. It’s great because there’s a huge musical variety (EDM, Indie, punk, etc). Chicago’s biggest music festival is Lollapalooza, which takes place this year from July 31st-August 3rd. Each year, Lollapalooza brings in the biggest names of music, from Eminem and Kings of Leon, to Drake! The festival attracts more than 160,000 people every year. Another big music festival is Spring Awakening, which specifically caters to EDM and House fans. It’s held in Soldier Field and brings in world famous DJ’s, including Tiesto, Alesso, and Calvin Harris. These two festivals are primarily the two big deals of the summer, but there are plenty others scattered around the city with smaller names that can be just as fun!

In a wonderful city like Chicago, there are plenty of things to do. With the summertime being something that everyone cherishes before the brutal winter, there are more than enough things to do and see. No wonder Chicago was ranked one of the best college towns to spend your summer!

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Apartment Shopping

By: Joe Laurendi

I’ve lived in the same house for all 19 years of my life; I’ve had the same room with my bed in the same position for my entire life; I’ve never had the experience of being away from home. When it was time to finally move into my dorm at DePaul, it was a totally new sensation. Calling a new place my home was undoubtedly going to be a little weird for me. Now that freshman year is coming to a close, I’ve noticed that I definitely had it easy last summer. All I had to do was put my name down and write a check to reserve my spot in a dorm… It was a breeze compared to my life right now! Apartment hunting is in full swing as students are on the lookout for the best possible place that fits within their price range. Although this is a very exciting time for me, this has become an extremely stressful process that both my roommates and I are going through.

Don’t get me wrong, the dorm life has been great. Some of my best friends live all throughout my hall. I love being able to walk around at night while simultaneously making plans for the upcoming weekend. Unfortunately though, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to dorm life. I need more room to function! I honestly can’t take another year of living in what seems like a 2 x 4 room, which I also share with another person. Yes, I think all freshman should have to dorm their first year in order to make friends, but after that, its definitely time to get out of the dorms.

It all started in January when I decided I wanted to move off campus. The first step was finding the people I would trust to be my roommates for the upcoming school year. Luckily, I already lived with those people in the dorms. Through random selection, I was paired with three great roommates who I know I can trust and live with in the future. We pretty much knew from the start that we were all going to be living with each other for a while. Finding the right roommates who I knew I could live with and TRUST was a vital part of my decision to move off campus.

As the months have passed, my roommates and I have consistently been checking apartment websites. It’s really exciting to see what’s out there on the market, but looking back at it now, we had no idea what we were doing when we first started looking. We would view apartments and dream about all the different things we could do with the space. We would plan these unrealistic parties and design unique ways of setting up the furniture in the living room. The thing we didn’t notice was the price tag. Once we started to run numbers, we realized that we couldn’t afford any of the apartments we’d been dreaming about.

When we started to get serious about the price, apartment shopping started to get stressful. It wasn’t that we were finding bad places; it was just that each place was missing one key part. For example, we found a great apartment, but it was a pretty long walk from the L stop. I am all for walking, but in the cold winters of Chicago, it would’ve been far hike. We continued our quest for the perfect apartment, but to our dismay, we weren’t having much luck.

On multiple occasions, we would go out to apartment viewings and see what the places had to offer. We’d consistently find nothing that fit all of our requirements. We actually eventually found the perfect place; it was beautiful and not far from the nearest L stop. As college kids do, however, we procrastinated. The apartment was gone before we knew what happened and we missed out! After that incident, we told each other we’d never let that happen again.

After a couple more weeks of shopping around, another perfect one came along. We jumped on it as fast as we possibly could. Within two days we all had viewed the apartment and had all of our applications in (which, might I add, was not an easy process!). There seemed to be about a thousand different forms each person had to fill out. Then the co-signers have to fill out forms, which ended up being our parents. The problem we ran into was that our parents didn’t live anywhere close to Chicago. A lot of emailing and scanning took place over the stretch of two days. Finally, all of the papers and money we owed were in. It was time for us to wait and see if we were accepted or not.

Fortunately, we were accepted and got the keys to our new apartment! We were overjoyed when we finally were able to call the apartment our own. This long and stressful process took all of our time and energy, but thankfully, it all paid off for us in the end.

What the EDGE Program Taught Me

By Guest Blogger: Megan Bogolia

I have participated in a lot of different activities and events during my freshman year at DePaul. I must say, however, that the EDGE program has been the highlight of my freshman year involvement. I have had so much fun working with my team in the Office of Student Involvement and I’m so thankful to have been part of such a great program.

EDGE has helped me a lot in my professional life. The resume workshop we did during Winter Quarter was extremely helpful. It showed me how to develop a strong resume that has helped me land several interviews and even a job! The cover letter workshop, as well, was equally as helpful. I had been avoiding job applications that required a cover letter because I didn’t know how to write a cover letter; after that EDGE workshop, I had no problem confidently applying to jobs and internships that needed one!

Another thing EDGE has helped me with in terms of my professional life is my LinkedIn profile. I actually had no idea was LinkedIn was until EDGE! Essentially, it’s a very important tool for networking and potential jobs and/or internships – it’s kind of like a professional Facebook. Without EDGE, I honestly wouldn’t have known how to create a successful profile so early. Interview skills, along with this, were something we learned about during one of our meetings. I was taught a lot about what interviewers were looking for, especially in group interviews (which was actually something I had never been exposed to).

My personal life has also greatly benefitted from EDGE. We had two great presentations from the Office of Financial Fitness: one that focused on budgeting (which I have learned is very important in college) and one that gave useful information about renting apartments. Something that I’ve learned is that managing money is very different now that I’m not living at home – the budgeting workshop showed me how to organize my spending and saving. During the apartment workshop, I learned what to look for when renting, the proper steps to take prior and after finding the space, and the kinds of questions that are important to ask. These workshops were both so helpful and I’m extremely grateful to have been able to participate in them!

We also had a workshop on StrengthsQuest, a website that basically helped us discover our talents for future job opportunities and beyond. There was an online quiz we were all required to take that helped to determine our core strengths and assets. This workshop in particular taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to challenge my skills in a way that would be beneficial in both leadership and everyday instances. These strengths, I learned, came into play every day of my life and being aware of them has helped me know how to act in a ton of different situations.

During our team meetings, we also talked a lot about other organizations at DePaul that you can get involved in. This was nice because I learned about different clubs and groups that I would never have heard of otherwise. I joined the organization Hoops for Hopes (which is a volunteer group that works with children at the Kelly YMCA). I’ve had a great time there and am glad I learned about it through EDGE! Another thing I learned about was the Student Leadership Institute. I discovered their certificate program and was so interested that I decided to complete it! The seminars were very interesting and I had a great time improving my leadership skills through them.

I love everyone on my team. We’ve spent so much time together over the quarter and I am so grateful I got the chance to meet all of them. During our Earth Week projects, I got to know a few of them even better which was a great opportunity. Of course, the actual Earth Week event was also a fun experience. I learned how to plan an event and how much work actually goes into it! It was a fun idea and I’m glad we got to spread the word about helping the environment.

As the weeks progressed, we were also introduced to the other staff members in the Office of Student Involvement. They’re all really awesome and I’m glad we had the chance to meet them in person. We were taught so much about OSI and what exactly the office does. Now I know where to go if I ever need tickets for an event or if I’m looking for something fun to do in Chicago! It’s a great resource at DePaul and I’m very happy it’s now an office I’m really familiar with.

Being a part of the OSI EDGE team and the EDGE program in general has been such a great experience. I am so thankful for all of the people I’ve met and for all the opportunities it has brought me. I would highly recommend incoming students to look into becoming a part of the EDGE program because it’s been such a rewarding and memorable experience for me this year!

Some of The Best S’more Recipes!

By Guest Blogger: Cali Parisi

When you think of happiness, what comes to mind?

When I think of happiness, I think of many things. One big thing that makes me happy is s’mores.

I believe that s’mores have the power to bring people together. I mean think about it, when you are sitting around a fire in the summertime, what do you really secretly want to be doing? Maybe it’s not even a secret, because who doesn’t love a good s’more?

In order to make a good time a great time, all you have to do is bust open a bag of marshmallows, some chocolate, and some graham crackers, find a stick, and BAM! You have the power to make a s’more!

Once the s’more is made, you along with your company can bond over the marshmallow goo that will appear on your face after taking that first bite into heaven. The flavor of s’mores has been formed into so many delicious treats. From ice cream to cakes, the flavor has taken over, which might just be the best thing ever.

Personally, I love to look up new recipes for baked goods, and I have a few in mind that I want to share. Some of these I have not yet made, but definitely will soon due to the fact that they look delicious! Here is a picture from 2006 of my sister, my dad, and I on vacation in Wisconsin. Our hotel hosted a large bonfire for everyone on Saturday nights, and that was a highlight that we always looked forward to. Clearly, we were all a little bit sunburned as well.

IMG_7668

First off, this cake has to be one of the most delicious desserts I have ever had. My mom introduced me to this recipe that she found online. Just looking at it makes my mouth water. The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 14 graham crackers, divided
  • ¼ cup  butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp.  sugar
  • 1-1/2 pkg.  (4 oz. each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping(Do not thaw.)
  • 1 container  (1-3/4 qt.) chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 pkg.  (10 oz.) JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows, divided
  • 2 Tbsp.  milk

Steps to make it:

Start by HEATING your oven to 325°F.

Step One: CRUSH 8-1/2 crackers to form fine crumbs; break remaining crackers into rectangles. Place cracker crumbs in medium bowl. Add butter and sugar; mix well. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Step Two: MEANWHILE, microwave chocolate and COOL WHIP in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 to 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is blended, stirring after each minute. Let stand 15 min. Spread chocolate mixture over crust. Stand cracker rectangles, top-sides facing out, around edge of pan, pressing gently into chocolate mixture to secure. Freeze 20 min. or until filling is firm.

Step Three: COVER with ice cream. Freeze 4 hours or until ice cream layer is very firm. When ready to serve dessert, reserve 2 cups marshmallows. Microwave remaining marshmallows and milk in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. 15 sec. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 1 min. Cool 10 min.

Step Four: HEAT broiler. Place dessert on baking sheet; top with melted marshmallow mixture and reserved marshmallows. Broil, 6 inches from heat, 1 min. or until marshmallows are golden brown. Remove rim of pan before serving dessert.

And here is the finished product! This cake is great for any occasion. It can be for a birthday party, Christmas, or just because!

Smores-Ice-Cream-Cake-62754

Recipe and photo from: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/smores-ice-cream-cake-144700.aspx


This next recipe is also a great one. This one isn’t too difficult, which is quite convenient. Most people like cookies, but these have a twist due to the s’more flavor! After you make the cookie dough, you can also make them into any shape you want be using cookie cutters or just with your hands. The dough gives you freedom to make these cookies any way you want them. The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Jet-Puffed vanilla mallow bits
  • 2 regular size (1.55 oz) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
  • Extra graham cracker pieces and mallow bits (optional)

Steps to make the dough:

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Step Two: In a large bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step Three: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Step Four: Stir in the Mallow Bits and mini chocolate chips. Roll a teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball. Press half of a Hershey’s chocolate square on top of the cookie and gently press down. I stuck in a few extra pieces of graham crackers and Mallow Bits onto the top of the dough for looks, but you can skip this step if you wish. Continue making all of the cookies.

Step Five: Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

These cookies are great for anything. You are able to make these cookies miniature or regular sized. They are very tasty and the flavor is not too overwhelming. You can dip them in coffee or milk, or just eat them plain. The possibilities are endless.

mini-smores-cookiesRecipe and photo from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/mini-smores-cookies/


This third and final recipe is one that I have not yet tried, but I think that it looks delicious, so I will definitely be trying it soon. I am a big fan of fudge, so this is right up my alley. Fudge is a great gift idea for any chocolate lover. It is also great just to make and eat for yourself! Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 graham crackers, chopped (plus a few crushed for topping)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Steps to bake:

Step One: Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Step Two: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Step Two: Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Gently fold in graham crackers and pour into prepared pan.

Step Four: Top with mini marshmallows and some crushed graham cracker. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.

Smores-Fudge-logo

Recipe and photo from: http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2012/08/smores-fudge/

…I hope you enjoy these recipes, and I hope that you are able to try them yourself one day!

My First Time Back Home From College.

By Guest Blogger: Madison Page

So you never really know what to expect when you return home from college for the first time. I envisioned… stepping off the plane, walking to baggage claim, and having my parents waiting with signs that read “WELCOME HOME MADI” and me running into their arms. No. This is not exactly how it played out- let me just get one thing clear that fantasy of mine – never happened.

What really happened was me getting off the plane, walking to baggage claim, lugging my two heavy bags alone, waiting on the curb of LAX with a homeless man badgering me. Home sweet home LA. Well, then my mom arrived with a bag of Five Guys and she was like – “Madi, you’re driving home! I want to eat!” and I was like great to see you too! It was like I never even left, and I loved it.

Once I got home I gave my dad a huge hug, then my dad, mom, and I talked for around two hours about my whole other life in Chicago and how much I missed them. Then, Will came home!  I rushed into his arms and I couldn’t believe it – my sixteen year old brother had facial hair, but not only that, his voice changed, and he has muscles now! Ahhh the worst part – HE IS TALLER THAN ME. I was so shocked… I couldn’t believe it. The pest of a little brother I’ve grown up with is now taller and stronger than me (how much time had past?).

It was a realization that now when we get into fist fights I will probably lose (like most brothers and sisters do, right?). Such a depressing thought, I never thought the day would come when I wouldn’t be able to beat my little brother anymore.

Also, another thing I never thought I would appreciate so much is, my dad’s cooking. Yummy!! He has always been an amazing chef , but the transition from STU food for months to a home cooked meal, it was pure heaven. I ate so much food when I was home because it tasted like it was food for the gods. He made Chicken Piccata for my first night back, and let me just tell you that I had three pieces of chicken, but a part of me died and went to heaven…so it was all worth it. Home cooking will forever be my favorite food. Whereas before I went to college my favorite food was In-N-Out Burger. If it was possible I would marry home cooking! What a great trip home I had, can’t wait for the next time.

Credit:

Photo created using canva.com and photo from www.goodwinhouse.org

Cardio Isn’t The Only Way To Get In Shape.

By Guest Blogger: Megan Bogolia

Losing weight seems to be a popular topic in today’s news. Everywhere I look I see magazine covers that rave about a celebrity’s dieting secrets and the top tips on how to get a flat belly. Many women have developed eating disorders because of body image issues that arise from what the media portrays as the “ideal body.” Dieting has become an obsession as people strive for an impossible standard. This is not a healthy way to live.

I personally believe people should stop worrying about their size and start focusing on their health.

Health and fitness became a big part of my life about a year ago. It started after I got a job at the gym for my local park district. I had always been into working out, ever since middle school, I went to the gym on a regular basis. This was partly because I enjoyed it and partly because of my own self image issues. The majority of my workout was intense cardio, aimed at burning as many calories as possible. This of course, never yielded the results I wanted.

However, while working out with one of my coworkers from the gym, he introduced me to the idea of weight lifting and body weight exercises. At first I was hesitant because I did not want to become an overly muscular and unattractive girl. But with his insistence, I gave it a shot; and I fell in love. If you are trying to change your life and get in shape, here are my suggestions.

First of all, balancing your work outs with strength training is very important.

Strength training has changed my life and my approach to fitness. I have seen significant changes in my body, for example, I have more energy, more confidence, and I just feel better about myself. As it turns out having muscle does not look bad on women. I have never been happier with my body and I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I highly recommend adding a weight lifting routine into your workout. Focusing on building muscle rather than losing weight is much more effective. Not only will your body look better, but building muscle will actually help you burn calories while you’re not working out. Not to mention that being stronger gives you more confidence in yourself.

While I believe strength training is very important, that doesn’t mean you should forget about cardio. Another thing I have fallen in love with in regards to fitness is kick boxing. Kick boxing is an empowering workout that I would highly recommend. It is a great stress relief and a fun way to get your cardio workout in. I am completely addicted and am currently looking for an affordable place near Lincoln Park. If you are tired of running on a treadmill, staring at the same wall, kickboxing could be a great cardio alternative for you.

After starting school at DePaul University, I also started taking cycling classes. I didn’t think I would enjoy sitting on a bike for an hour but as it turns out I actually really like it. There are some great instructors at DePaul and the classes are anything but boring. The lighting, music and energy is very motivating and I always get an amazing workout.

My biggest recommendation if you are trying to get in shape is to find someone who will do it with you.

Having someone else to motivate you is very effective and will help you stay on track. I met a girl at my job who became my workout partner and she has become one of my best friends. Working out with her makes the experience all the more enjoyable and watching her push herself inspires me to work even harder. Having someone by your side while trying to keep up a healthy lifestyle is one of the most helpful things you can do to stay focused.

Eating right and staying fit are the two keys to being healthy. I try to avoid processed foods whenever possible and I rarely eat fast food. Eating a lot of protein is also important for a healthy diet. If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle I strongly encourage you to set a goal for yourself.

You don’t have to wait for the New Year to set a resolution. You can start to make a change in your life at any moment. It’s never too late to change your life style. Stay motivated and be patient because healthy results take time. Don’t expect to see big changes immediately. As I said before, I’ve been working to improve my health and fitness for a year now and it took time before I started seeing a difference. But when you finally get there, there is no better feeling.

… Megan Bogolia is currently a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE team and is a freshman at DePaul University. Megan also is a volunteer for Hoops for Hopes which, is an organization at DePaul that travels to the Kelly YMCA in Humboldt Park, Chicago to work with children in their after school program. Megan tutor children, ages 6 to 14 in Math, Science and/or English!

What Games You Should Be Playing Today!

By Guest Blogger: Spencer Albin

One of the best benefits of attending a college larger than the high school system that you attended is that there are a lot more people with interests that are similar to your own as well as a lot of people that are experienced with things that you are a novice to. This allows you to both reinforce existing interests and branch out to learn about and explore new interests!

There are many organizations at DePaul to help facilitate this process. This is also a great way to meet new people and potential friends, which is the primary objective for many people during their first year at college, including me. Already well into the winter quarter, I am happy with the friends I’ve managed to make so far. I was fortunate enough to become friends with my roommate, Cole. Through him I was able to meet several other people including another one of my good friends, Scott. I also met many people through my classes, which is nice because it allows me to say hi to them in passing. I’ve also made friends through my classes, though almost exclusively through classes for my major, Computer Game Development.

There must be something about the people in these courses that separates them from the majority of people in the other classes. It doesn’t take long to figure that out; we all have a passion for games and everything to do with them. Games are something that multiple people can experience separately and instantly relate with each other. They provide a lot of content to talk about with other people. Even sharing the games you like and dislike allows a glimpse at your personality. Gaming is an inherently social activity, therefore I believe they are the best method through which to get to know people and become friends with people (and also have a lot of fun by doing so).

I think that there are a lot of people that still characterize the ‘gamer’ as belonging to the societal fringe; a person that has no friends and sits alone in a room…most of the time. I would like to say that even among the hardcore section of gamers, there is an incredible variety of people that are as social as they are diverse. Everyone can be a gamer in their own right. You just have to play games! Speaking of, there is tremendous variety when it comes to games and they are not limited to digital devices; there is a huge tabletop game market nowadays, ranging from simple card or dice games all the way to full scale role-playing games.

Not sure where to find a game that would interest you or how a game plays? Consult the Internet. You should be able to find a number of games that are fun and suit you. Now get some people to play with!

I mentioned before that playing a game gives you an experience that you can relate with someone through. In some form or another, playing games, especially with other people, builds comradery. Playing games is a great way to spend a night during the weekend and is often overlooked by people that typically do other things. Scott and I recently spent a Friday night playing a notoriously difficult platformer called Spelunky together. The amount of entertainment we got out of the experience both brought us together and gave us a great start to the weekend. I could go on about other games that I have spent hours playing with other people, but I think you understand how games can be great to make friends through.

DePaul has a large community of gamers, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the largest student organization on campus is DeFRAG (Check em out: http://defrag.depaul.edu/ ). The DeFRAG meetings are a perfect place to meet people and learn to play new games at the same time. It is open to everyone, even if you’ve never played any games before. Plenty of people would be willing to teach new games to you and help you out while you play them. If you haven’t played many games before I suggest going to at least one of these meetings or to someone you know to play a game, any game. You might find that you have been missing out on a completely unique experience.

The two main points I am trying to make with this blog are… First, to offer people a way to meet new friends and have fun. Second, to encourage people that don’t consider themselves to be gamers to branch out and play a few games. Both gaming and starting your college career are things that start out uncertain and rough. However, after some time has passed and you receive guidance, it evens out and becomes easier to do and to enjoy. With that I will leave you with some table games that run the gambit of complexity but are definitely fun. It is by no means a comprehensive list of awesome games, but it is a list of games that I like. Maybe you’ll find one to your liking!

 Tabletop Games that I’m sure you’ll like!

  • Left-Center-Right – A simple one die gambling game where one lucky winner takes the pot.
  • Cards Against Humanity – Think Apples to Apples, but dirtier. For those that aren’t familiar with Apples to Apples, it is a game where players alternate drawing prompt cards and choosing the card that best matches it. The other players submit the other cards.
  • Fluxx – A card game with a simple premise: draw one card and play one card per turn, meet the goal to win. However, there are cards that change the rules and steal victory from the other players. Available in many themes.
  • Munchkin – Munchkin is a sort of role-playing lite game that primarily uses cards and does away with much of the complexity and time typically needed for RPGs. It is really fun once you get the hang of the basic rules. Loot the room and stab your friends in the back! (Also has a large variety of themes.)
  • RISK – You can take over the world, enough said. More seriously, RISK is a classic strategy game that I like to play a lot (because I win most of the time).
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill – A B-rated horror movie in a box! If you like the kind of horror movies that take place in creepy old houses, you’ll probably like this! It is another RPG lite and is one of the most unique games I have played. It has fifty different possible haunts!
  • Settlers of Catan – A strategic trade and economy game set on the island of Catan. This one can be a bit more complex for new players, but like any game is more fun once you’ve played it a few times. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for premature terminations of friendships due to playing this game!

…Spencer Albin is a freshman at DePaul studying Computer Game Development. Spencer is also a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE Team!