Photo by Anna Meassick | Gabby Jeronimo and David Hussong face off in an intense game of foosball in the Ram’s Den.
This semester, the Ram’s Den at the University of Rhode Island is offering an assortment of free table and arcade games to increase its popularity amongst students.
These games include air hockey, foosball, pinball, Pac-Man and more. The games are of no cost for students to play while they are at Ram’s Den.
Jo-Anne Stephens, associate administrator of Retail Dining Operations, was the one behind obtaining and implementing the games.
“We are trying to get more activity in the Rams Den and actually in the Memorial Union as a whole,” Stephens said. “We want this to be a gathering place and a studying place and a place to have fun, not just a place for food.”
Stephens expressed there was some difficulty behind obtaining the games, as the process of acquiring them had to go through the state. She had to reach out to three different companies.
“With the state, there’s a process,” Stephens said. “Everything has to go out to bid, you have to get three quotes. So, I contacted three different companies and they submitted bids which included delivery, set-up and free play of the games. [We] took a poll of some of our student employees to see what types of games they might be interested in, and we plan on changing them out each semester if it is a success.”
Pierre St-Germain, the director of Dining and Retail Services, expressed that if students want to continue expanding the games in the Ram’s Den, they may have to be willing to sacrifice some space.
“[We would consider going bigger] if that’s what the students wanted,” St-Germain said. “The idea is that it’s their living space. So the hard part is when the students wants, desires run up against the finite amount of space we have. I think there are times when seating here is at a premium so that’s why it would really have to be the students that really have to want it.”
While many students have been actively using the new games, other students have expressed hesitations and concerns over the Ram’s Den’s spending and where the funds are coming from.
“It’s not actually tuition, it’s the meal plan because we don’t get any money from the state. We are self-sufficient,” Stephens said.
St-Germain said, “It’s absolutely not your tuition. It’s not really even your meal plan; it’s the additional money we see from Ram Accounts, the additional money we see from the staff and faculty who eat here. That pays for this. So you can thank the faculty next time you see them.”
Many students have been enjoying the new games in Ram’s Den, but still have some suggestions.
“Having a Wii that’s a communal Wii would be fun,” freshman Sydney Chabot said. “Games like Wii sports, Mario Kart, Just Dance would be so great in the Ram’s Den.”
Freshman Jillian Battye said she thought karaoke would be a nice option to add in the Union as well.
In addition to the games, Ram’s Den has begun to offer late night hours on Sundays and Wednesdays to entice students. Currently, Ram’s Den is completing about 350 transactions on late nights, but have hopes to increase that number.
“You always expect or hope it will start at a really high level but for us, it’s been kind of the opposite at the Ram’s Den with the Late Night,” St-Germain said. “People just didn’t know or were just maybe hesitant at first so that’s grown over the semester.”
Stephens and St-Germain are open to student recommendations for games, as well as regarding overall experience. The Student Senate recently passed the Student Advisory Board which will advise Dining Services on future projects within spaces such as the Ram’s Den.