UPDATE: A new scholarship pool record of over $1,500 allowed the tournament to achieve a long term goal of awarding scholarships to all teams that advanced to the final table.
Carl Hammond, PLNU assistant professor accounting, has more than a dozen boxes of Monopoly lining an upper shelf in his office. He is the founder of PLNU’s annual Monopoly Tournament, which is open to students of any major, alumni, or any others with a passion for Monopoly or PLNU.
The event, now in its 11th year, takes place on March 13. But the tournament had its beginnings in Hammond’s very first accounting class.
“The students couldn’t understand the principles in the book because they had no practical experience,” said Hammond. “I thought of Monopoly.”
Hammond opened up the opportunity to play to all his students, particularly those struggling in his class. By playing the game and recording the transactions, the ideas in his lessons and lectures came to life.
After that first help session, a student suggested playing on a more regular basis would be fun. Six students played in the first tournament. Now, everything from the opening KFC chicken dinner to team-centric two-round style play are solid traditions.
The event is run not by Hammond (although he provides oversight and advice) but by the Monopoly Board of Directors, made up entirely of students. The board also organizes an annual lunch where students on the board meet with professionals in various fields. Hammond says it provides for great networking opportunities as well as maintains connections with professionals who would like to commit to sponsoring the annual event.
For example, five years ago, Bartell Hotels, a major PLNU supporter, signed on as one of the tournament’s first title sponsors. The backing has encouraged others to give to the tournament, which uses the funds for students scholarships (in the form of winnings). To date, the tournament have given out over $10,000 in scholarships (Although all are encouraged to play, only students can participate in the second (and last) round, since they are the ones eligible for the scholarship winnings).
One of this year’s participants and the Monopoly Board of Directors chairman is senior marketing major James Garcia:
“The Monopoly Tournament was one of my first interactions with the business department as I came into PLNU as a freshman,” said Garcia. “It gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with professors, other students, alumni, and business people. Some of these people I still have contact with today. Looking back, as I prepare to graduate, being on the board was one of the most fun and beneficial things I have been a part of here at PLNU. There is so much tradition involved in the planning, from who does what tasks to the KFC we eat at the event every year to the perks of being on the board (top secret information unless your a board member). I will miss the Monopoly Tournament, and hope to be able to come back as an alumni and still participate … and, of coarse, win.”
The tournament is played in teams and is broken into two rounds – each lasting, usually, no longer than one to two hours. The top three winners (all students) take home winnings.
This year’s tournament takes place on March 13 in the Fermanian Business Center. Contact Carl Hammond to register or to discuss sponsorship opportunities.