Mirthweek brings people together for games, food and fun

by | May 2, 2022

Members of the campus community gathered to play games, ride bumper cars and share merriment during the annual celebration.
Students ride in bumper cars outside the Recreation and Wellness Center during Mirth Week

Hundreds of students, staff and faculty members descended on the lawn outside the Recreation and Wellness Center last Wednesday to play games, ride bumper cars and share merriment during the Mirthweek Carnival, which returned after a two-year hiatus. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Mirthweek has long been one of the most anticipated weeks of the year at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The tradition to create campus cheer and thank and celebrate the hard work of students, staff and faculty began on April 23, 1986.

This year’s Mirthweek, organized by the University Program Board in the Office of Student Involvement, was the first full-scale series of events since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and ran last Monday through Saturday.

There were several events including the Student Leadership Awards that recognized UMSL students, faculty and staff who have demonstrated exemplary initiative that had impact.

But the highlight of the week was Wednesday’s carnival.

 

A student tosses a beanbag during Mirthweek

There were no shortage of games for students, staff and faculty members to enjoy and try to win prizes at during the Mirthweek Carnival. (Photo by August Jennewein)

It was a quintessential spring day, with people gathered near the Millennium Student Center ponds for games, rides, live music, food and prizes. The carnival had all the makings of a fun day on campus for students, staff, faculty friends and family.

 

Alumna Esha Christie with her two sons

Esha Christie brought her two sons to enjoy the carnival. (Photo by Wendy Todd)

Esha Christie, an alumna whose husband works at UMSL, brought her two sons, Isaac and Isaiah, who summed up his experience with a brief approval. “It was good,” he said.

 

A carnival goer tosses a horseshoe at one of the booths

A carnival goer tosses a horseshoe in hopes of winning a prize. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Christopher Courtright, a freshman majoring in nursing, experienced the carnival for the first time and appreciated being out and around people.

“After all that time being inside with Covid, it was nice to see all the students out there having a good time,” he said.

 

Two students enjoy some iceless skating during the Mirthweek Carnival

Two students take a break from skating to snap a photo on the iceless rink during the Mirthweek Carnival. (Photo by August Jennewein)

There were other students who hadn’t attended the carnival before and were pleasantly surprised.

“I was expecting something a little bit smaller,” said Annika Williams, a junior studying graphic design. “I didn’t think the event would be this big. It’s really nice to see people just playing games and being outside taking a break from classes – just basically relaxing.”

 

A student looks over the potential prizes at the Mirthweek Carnival

There were plenty of prizes to be won at the carnival. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Jad Shehabelddin, a senior majoring in biology had a great time at the carnival and liked seeing the diversity of the crowd.

“This event was spectacular,” they said. “There was so much inclusion, the food was good, the games were so much fun, and really good prizes too.”

 

Police Officer Dustin Smith riding in a bumper car with his daughter

UMSL Police Officer Dustin Smith rides the bumper cars with his daughter. (Photo by August Jennewein)

 

A student gets a henna tattoo on her hand

A student gets a henna tattoo on her hand. (Photo by August Jennewein)

 

Mirthweek Carnival band

A band helped entertain carnival goes throughout the afternoon. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The carnival wasn’t the end of the week of fun.

JuJubee, a former contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” seasons 1 and 5 and the host of TLC’s “Dragnificent,” hosted Drag Queen Bingo, a virtual event on Friday night.

 

JuJubee

JuJubee hosts the virtual Drag Queen Bingo for Mirthweek. (Screenshot)

Players participated online and competed for prizes such as a Nintendo Switch while JuJubee entertained with witty conversation, makeup tips and shared lessons learned on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“An important lesson for me was that I had different requirements when I was a younger performer for what I would do and what I would say,” JuJubee said. “And as I grew older, I’ve been able to build some boundaries for myself as a person through the art that I create. So I think the lesson is that growth is necessary. And that was my lesson because I was so comfortable in what I was doing on season two and also season one but as I went on to compete some more, I had to grow. And it was really nice to to experience that uncomfortableness.”

Con”drag”ulations to the University Program Board and the Office of Student Involvement for putting together a great Mirthweek!

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Wendy Todd

Wendy Todd

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