ARGO celebrates 20th anniversary

Arianna O'Connell, Contributing Writer

Members of the Allegheny Role-Playing and Gaming Organization held a formal dance and gaming night in Schultz Banquet Hall from 6-11 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.

Colorful balloons and streamers, music playing to an empty dance floor and more than 20 board games spread out over six tables set the scene of the ARGO formal. This event celebrated  20 years of role-playing and gaming for this community.

This anniversary and the Allegheny bicentennial brought a large number of alumni to the event, adding about 20 people to the 40 total people in attendance.

The current ARGO president, Francis Craft, ’16, a computer science major, was excited to be part of the event and the organization since he has enjoyed playing board games his entire life.

“Having the opportunity to play board games with peers is enjoyable and an improvement from family game night,” Craft said.

This year the organization celebrates 20 years of gaming and role-playing. This is an important event for current members and alumni in particular because the symbolic torch of the ARGO community is continuing to thrive year after year.

“ARGO was founded 20 years ago this year, the school was founded 200 years ago this year. So, we had the idea to combine the fact that the school is celebrating its bicentennial and ARGO is celebrating its bi-decade,” Craft said.

Numerous alumni came back to Allegheny specifically to attend this event because of the close-knit community ARGO offered them while they were students.

Timi Sgouros, ’15, a music and history double major, and Emma Brooker, ’15, a communication arts major, set up the event with the intent of having as many alumni in attendance as possible.

“We emailed the alumni, we did some comping and then we set up the event,” said Sgouros.

Dr. Brandi Baros, ’95, a biology major and former biology professor at Allegheny, was the adviser of ARGO from 2003-2005 before it became officially recognized. When she left, her friends worked to make it an official campus organization in order to receive funding from Associated Student Government and become more well known in the community.

“We used to get together and play at people’s houses that aren’t even here anymore,” said Baros.

As an “ancestor” of ARGO, Baros and her classmates set important precedents in making the organization a welcoming community to all, especially those who have felt outcast or excluded.

“The friends that I made that are the ancestors of ARGO are the reason I come back at all,” said Baros.

“Dave Kosac, ’96, was the one who really set ARGO in motion, he now works for Blizzard Entertainment and is one of the designers of World of Warcraft,” said Baros.

Drew Spaniel, ’14, a physics major, was the president of ARGO last year and vice president the year before. While he says he found ARGO by accident, following the advice of a teacher’s assistant, he stayed for the community the organization offered him.

“When I look back at Allegheny, it’s what I remember. All of the people I still talk to are ARGO people. It is a different kind of friendship and I don’t know if that translates to other organizations,” said Spaniel. “It is a very welcoming community. One of the things for me is that it is always substance free. If you are uncomfortable around that sort of thing, it is a good place to be. Also the games are fun.”