In the basement of UMD lies a place where 10-15 students consider the area an exciting and entertaining "hang out". Around one particular pool table is a group of boys and girls who are laughing and teasing with one other non-stop.
The Kirby Games and Outing Center provides this group of regulars an atmosphere to have fun with each other while playing pool, foosball, darts, pinball machines, watching television, or playing X-Box.
"My buddies are constantly popping in and out. This is definitely our hangout," said sophomore Chris Olsen. "When there's a new face, I notice right away. I love it though. It's nice to see new people coming to hang
"Yeah, I love to come down here. We don't see everybody all the time, so this is a place we can all come and see each other," said one regular, David Comer.
Every day between noon and 2 o'clock this cultured group meets to play pool. When looking around, it's easy to see pool isn't the only reason why they go down there. Two guys are cracking jokes while the rest of the
crew is laughing hystarically. The laughing dies out and the conversation turns in a whole new direction. Three of the regulars start discussing different cultures.
"The conversations get wild down here. We like to debate about religion and politics," said freshman Hana Dinku. "We all clash, but there's no downsizing, just sharing."
A couple of the regulars keep quiet while sitting at one of the tables off to the side. Not only is the Games and Outing Center a place to play around, but it's a popular spot to study.
"I can actually stay awake down here. There's good music and that helps me to study," said Chris Olsen. "It's easy to get distracted, but that's ok because my buddies are around."
The group likes to come to the Kirby Games Center in between classes during the day, but they enjoy going on Thursday nights as well. Usually during the night, the Games Center is slow, but the center has designated
Thursday nights to be "free pool night". This weekly occurrence brings many more people to join the regulars. The Games Center gets very crowded, but it's a great way to meet different people from all sides of the world.
Besides Thursday nights, there are many tables and machines that are open for enjoyment to all students who attend UMD. The Kirby Gaming and Outing Center is open on weekdays from 9am to 10pm and on weekends from 1pm to 10pm.