By: Patrick Millar

From blackjack and Texas Hold ‘Em poker to roulette and even a betting wheel, faculty of the college got to cut loose and gamble a little at a Casino Night in support of the United Way and Plant Some Roots on Nov. 8.

The event, held in the Marketplace cafeteria, was a celebration of the teachers’ financial contributions to the United Way campaign by giving them an evening to relax and talk about something other than work with their colleagues.

“It’s an opportunity for staff to let their hair down, kick up their feet, hang out with their colleagues, play some games, and just talk about life,” said Jeremy McQuigge, business professor and Algonquin United Way committee member. “It’s a very stressful business running a college; times are tough for everybody, so it’s nice for them to have a relaxing night.

The college’s staff appreciates time to interact without having to talk about budgets and policies and ministerial changes, so it’s a really good opportunity for them.”

The teachers got $500 in chips when they entered the event, and at the end of the event got a raffle ticket in the silent auction lot of their choice for every $250 in chips they cashed out.

McQuigge, who organized the casino event, said that the idea came from a mock casino night they organized earlier in the year for around 400 students living in residence during a residence orientation and movement event.

“The residence event was exciting, had great energy, and was a lot of fun,” said McQuigge. “I thought ‘wouldn’t that be great to bring to the staff as a way to recognize what they’ve contributed,’ meaning both a significant amount of money and time to the United Way campaign.”

McQuigge also says the event was about recognizing teachers who have made very significant contributions to campaign.
“This event is the best way for us to thank the teachers for all the donations and hard work they put into the campaign,” McQuigge said.

The entertainment was provided by Full House casino rentals, whose employees looked to be having almost as much fun as the teachers, being social and inviting to the faculty at the event.

“It’s been a great time, very fun, lots of great people,” said Jeff Blonden, one of the blackjack dealers. “It’s a great experience being a dealer and being around all these excited people.”

There was also a photo booth, where attendees could get dressed up in classy props and accessories to get pictures taken of themselves looking like high rollers.

One of the goals of the event was to raise $5,000 through ticket sales and silent auction to support the United Way and Plant Some Roots, an endowment fund at the college.