Dozens of students spent Wednesday afternoon on the University Student Union lawn decorating photo frames, thank-you cards, bracelets, pumpkin piggy banks and mason jars. Some were even building castles at the third annual Gobble Games and Can Castles.
Beach Pride Events and Associated Students Inc. hosted the event for students for Thanksgiving. The annual celebration began in 2015 with the goal of providing students with a seasonal event while also giving back to the community.
The cans used in the contest were donated to the ASI Beach Pantry, which provides free food to students in need, but not before five teams of students went head-to-head with scissors, construction paper, markers, decorations and of course, cans of nonperishable food to see who could build the best castle for the chance to win a bookstore gift card.
“It’s gonna be a pretty big thing, you can win prizes,” Logan Cross, ASI social media assistant said. “How high can you stack the cans, how many cans can you put on here? And all proceeds go to ASI’s Beach Pantry.”
In past years, Beach Pride representatives would email various campus organizations to bring their own cans for the event, but decided to change the process to include students who just happened to be walking by and participate. According to Javier Gonzalez of Beach Pride Events, he felt this would make the event more inviting to students.
“This year we found it better to just purchase all of the cans and just pull people out that were already in the activities, so it’s kind of a first-come first-serve basis,” Gonzalez said.
All the teams were given the same exact items: cans, foam stickers, pipe cleaners, markers and colored construction paper, but all ended up with drastically different castles.
The judges challenged participants to incorporate school pride and the pantry into their designs. The result was fun, creative castles featuring slogans such as “Go Beach!” and “Protect the pantry!” guarded by makeshift dragons and pipe cleaner people.
“Everyone is getting really creative,” Gonzalez said. “You see just how different everyone’s castle are with the same materials.”
Students were not required to compete in the castle contest in order to enjoy the many other activities, and free food featured at the event for all.
Students were welcomed with deli sandwiches, Monster Energy drinks and a build-your-own trail mix station that let students fill up for the holiday. The most popular station though, was the mac-n-cheese bar which included bowls of bacon, broccoli and Hot Cheetos for students to indulge in during the judging.
“I saw that [Beach Pride has] a whole bunch of activities,” junior social work major Melanie Diaz said. “Usually whenever I have time and I see activities, I love to go because they have cool stuff. I love painting making bracelets and stuff like that.”
While some students may not be able to go home for Turkey Day, they’ll always have memories of their can castles in the sky.