By day, senior Bren Belovarac spends his time taking classes to graduate with a major in Japanese language and literature. But by night he is hard at work learning facts that won’t help him pass his Japanese midterm – but that is exactly why he does it.
Belovarac is the president of the GW Quiz Team, which was established in 2005 and has about 10 members. The student organization holds regular practices where they meet to test each other’s trivia knowledge – their ammunition in tournaments against other university quiz teams.
“We’re more for having fun. We’re not doing this to have an extra class or anything,” Belovarac said. “It’s a good opportunity to meet people you would never normally meet, who maybe don’t get out as much, and we get to travel a lot as well.”
Many of the members of the quiz team, like freshman Sheng Zhou, started building up their trivia knowledge on similar teams in high school.
“I just really know a lot of random facts, like really, really trivial stuff that no one else should ever know. It comes from reading and watching TV, random stuff,” Zhou said.
Each Wednesday, members meet for an hour to practice a variety of questions compiled from historic, scientific, mathematical and literary categories.
“We do a lot of practice questions and that really helps because you absorb questions when you hear them,” Zhou said. “Once you get in it, you listen to more and more questions; you start absorbing answers and they will show up again. They are kind of repetitive. There are only so many questions in the world.”
GW’s team competes in academic-based competitions against other schools from the mid-Atlantic region. Armed solely with light-up buzzers and their combined brainpower, university teams battle each other off two by two until a winner is announced at the end of the day.
The competitions are based off a list of questions compiled by each participating team. When a question is answered correctly, the team is given the opportunity to answer a three-part bonus question worth triple the amount of the original question. Non-academic questions are known as “trash” and are occasionally thrown into the mix by competitors. Competitions can sometimes get rowdy when one team disapproves of an opposing team’s question; the tradition is for teams to yell out “lame,” as a sign of protest.
“Tournaments take a long time, and we mostly have to take the first metro (of the day), so by the end, most people are in a bad mood,” Belovarac said.
Although the team works hard to practice every Wednesday night, they have yet to capture a first-place.
Freshman Nishanth Sidduri said the team still has some areas to work on. Members are strong in history and humanities but weak in history and humanities.
Sidduri said she knows how to help improve the team.
She said, “So, I guess if I take more classes, I can be helpful in those fields.”