First Sama Cup Completed Amidst Mixed Reviews

Sama Cup, NYU Abu Dhabi’s newest student competition, was in full swing from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1. In one week, students living on the East and West sides ...

Nov 2, 2013

Sama Cup, NYU Abu Dhabi’s newest student competition, was in full swing from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.
In one week, students living on the East and West sides of Sama Tower teamed up with their side-mates and participated in various activities ranging from costume contests to cafeteria quizzes.
Residential education fellow Robert Leary, along with Hall Council and RAs, spearheaded the effort to organize Sama Cup. Hall Council, a part of the Office of Residential Education, helped create the events and also led some of the activities.
Even though residential education was largely in charge, other departments of NYUAD also contributed their efforts.
“The coolest thing about Sama Cup […] is how collaborative it was,” Leary said. “It wasn’t just me and some RAs and Hall Council who did it — Student Life was a big player in organizing the service event, the Fitness Center organized an event and Athletics also organized an event.”
The idea for Sama Cup came from Leary’s experience at the University of Pennsylvania, where there is a year-long, sports-oriented competition between residence halls called the College House Cup. NYU New York’s Floor Wars, the competition between different floors of residence halls on Washington Square, also influenced Sama Cup’s vision. Through these events, residential education hoped to foster healthy competition between students and strengthen the bonds formed in residential life.
“It’s more than dorms, it’s more than where you live, it’s where you can identify with,” Leary said. “Here, we wanted to have that competition aspect to get students excited about where they are living, but to make it more than about sport.”
Sama Cup received mixed reviews from the student crowd.
“It was good to get out of Sama for some activities,” freshman James Gardner said.
“We really bonded over the competition and even the pain when we were playing [dodge ball],” freshman Jose Varias added.
However, others thought that the implementation of the event needed improvement.
Freshman Ieva Liepuoniute felt that advertisement for the events could have been more effective.
“I only saw the posters [for Sama Cup] on my floor,” Leupuoniute said. “Neither my RA nor [other] people talked about it. I [knew] something was happening but I’m not sure what. Also, what is the prize for the winner? Nobody talked about that, either.”
At the end of the competition, both sides were waiting for the final result — the prize being a cup and bragging rights.
“It’s difficult to come up with a prize, especially for half of the school,” Leary said. He also said that the point of Sama Cup was more about the competition and pride instead of the prizes.
Another aspect that could be improved is the timing of the competition. Carrasco, who is the RA on the 17th floor, pointed out that since Sama Cup was sandwiched between two breaks, it was difficult to get students involved.
“There were many cool events that didn’t get a lot of attendance, like the service event to the women’s safehouse,” Carrasco said. “It was scheduled at a very awkward time, and there were three other events going on that day.”
Comparing an annual spirit day at her old school in Bolivia to Sama Cup, Carrasco said that Sama Cup had a good beginning.
“It’s a question of making [the competition] a set thing and making sure that there is nothing else going on at that time,” Carrasco said.
With NYUAD’s move to Saadiyat next year, residential life will undergo significant changes, and so will Sama Cup. Although the competition may retain the name ‘Sama Cup’ as a tribute to Sama Tower, there will certainly be a lot of room to grow and expand. Leary said students will live in three different residence halls instead of in the same building.
“People will identify with their houses a lot more, so they will be more motivated to go and represent themselves and their peers who live with them,” Leary said.
Leary hopes to see Sama Cup grow into a full-year program with events that are more spread out.
“If you have your set identities of those three [residential halls], and if you’re able to program it … and keep people engaged, I think it could be successful throughout the whole year,” he said.
Editor's note: this article includes a contribution from deputy news editor Asyrique Asyraf Thevendran in the form of an interview conducted by Thevendran. 
Thinh Tran is a staff writer. Email her at 
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