History club hosts trivia night

History majors and minors listen to Associate Professor Anthony Harkins during a history department trivia night. William Kolb/HERALD

Anna Lawson

Every incoming freshman has had to face the intimidation of meeting a college professor for the first time. But the history department has come up with a solution to that, putting students and professors on the same team to compete in a trivia night.

Students and professors gathered together in Cherry Hall for the annual history trivia night on Tuesday evening. Everyone from History Department Head Robert Dietle to freshmen participated in the hour-long event. 

The event is hosted by Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.

The advisor of the club, Selena Sanderfer, came up with the idea for the trivia night five years ago when she first came to WKU. Sanderfer is also an assistant professor of African Diaspora and American History. 

“We wanted an event to open the school year fresh,” she said. “Most students didn’t know their professors outside of class. They may seem scary and unapproachable. We wanted to fix that.”

While the event focused on historical trivia, it also gave professors a chance to recruit students to the history major and minor programs. Each professor introduced his or her self and explained the courses they taught.  

“It also allowed us to get the idea of a history minor in their minds early on,” Sanderfer said. “It can work really well with an English or journalism major.”

The group broke into teams at random, each consisting of a mix of students and professors, and played two rounds of trivia. 

“For freshmen, they may be too intimidated to even ask them a question about a test,” Sanderfer said. “We want to show that they are approachable.” 

Campbellsville sophomore Carla Delgado said the event was successful in doing just that. 

“It really helps us to get to know the professors better,” she said. “I wish all majors would do it.” 

Glasgow senior Anna Helton is the president of Phi Alpha Theta. She said that trivia night helps inform students of classes they might not have taken or heard of otherwise.

“It is nice for students and professors to sit together and socialize, and helps us tell students about different classes,” she said. 

Clarkson junior Shannon Carter is the treasurer for Phi Alpha Theta. She said the trivia night helps make for better student-teacher relationships. 

“It really allows for the students to feel comfortable with professors so they can enhance their education,” Carter said. 

Eric Kondratieff, assistant professor of history, agreed that it is necessary for students to see their professors outside of the classroom. 

“The event creates a bond between student and professor. It makes us approachable,” he said. “We are people too, we like to have fun.”