This spring the Hospers men will be taking to battle on the green once more in the annual cardboard duct-tape battle, a tradition that dates back almost 15 years at Northwestern. This year the battle will see some changes. The battle will be held on Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. on the green, and the cafeteria will be serving food as well, sponsored by Student Activities Council.
The tradition began as an annual West Hall event, but when the men of West Hall transitioned to Hospers Hall in 2014, the tradition followed. According to a 2011 article of “The Beacon,” the first cardboard duct tape battle occurred in April 2008 under the direction of West Hall resident director Seth Currier when residents expressed interest in creating a medieval week as a dorm event. In response, Currier proposed the cardboard duct tape battle which he modeled after experiences from his own time in college. From that point on, the event eventually became one the most famous of NW’s dorm events, occurring every year except for the spring of 2020.
How did this event reach such heights on campus and what about it is so special? The men of Hospers have a few ideas. Resident director Michael Simmelink believes that a lot of the magic comes from the intense preparation the men put into their armor and weapons. Friends of Hospers men are well aware of the many months in advance where the boys will collect cardboard and plan their designs. These designs are often a great way to express themselves since many students decide to model their armor after characters in movies or video games.
Senior Theo Jongerius has impressed the crowd with his previous designs, a replication of the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo and a giant hamster wheel which awed and shocked both onlookers and fellow competitors.
“The men of Hospers always put on a show that people will not want to miss,” said Michael Leon, a resident assistant of Hospers.
While students from other dorms witness the joy of the battle, men of Hospers also enjoy the traditions leading up to their attack on the green. Simmelink explains that some of his fondest memories over the years have included planning entrances with resident assistances, taking photos before the battle and hearing the speeches that the resident assistants give to inspire their residents.
Simmelink also believes that the spectatorship of the event is what makes it so impactful; students who gather to watch the event make it just as meaningful as those who battle.
“If we just did this for ourselves,” Simmelink said, “I really don’t think it would have the longevity.”
At the end of the day, there’s just something special about the cardboard duct-tape battle. Gideon Fynaardt speaks of the true magic elicited by the event.
“It exudes excitement at every corner,” Fynaardt said. “Just explaining the concept to people who have never heard or participated garner wide eyes and open ears.”
“There’s just nothing like this,” Leon said. “I tell guys this year will be one of four times in your life where you get to do something as unique as this—so go all in and have fun.”