Last Thursday, faculty returned to defend last year’s win at the University’s annual students versus faculty and staff basketball game called Hoops for Help, hosted by Brandeis Beacons. Although the faculty team fell short this year, the event still raised money for a variety of causes.

As people entered the event, they approached a table where they were given the option to donate to any aspect of the Brandeis community, including a department, a club or any other group or community on campus. With a donation of $5 or more, the person was given a vote that could be put towards one of six Challenge causes, as well as a t-shirt. On the ballot were the  Brandeis Food Pantry, Student Emergency Fund, the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center, The Green Fund for Campus Sustainability, World of Work Fellowships and the General Scholarship Fund. The $10,000 grand prize would be split proportionally depending on the number of votes cast for each organization.


The student team consisted of Grace Barredo '19, Roland Blanding '21, Hannah Brown '19, Adam Dean '21, Shea Decker-Jacoby '19, Sarah Jaromin '19, Geoffrey Kao '19, Sam Kim '19, Hannah Maatallah '19, Isaac Mukala '22, Emma Russell '19 and Latye Workman '19. 

The faculty and staff team consisted of Protestant Chaplain Reverend Matt Carriker, Prof. Joel Christensen (CLAS), Alumni Relations Officer Amanda Genovese, Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Pat Luptowski, Assistant Director for Marketing and Communications at Hiatt Kristin Menconi, Intramural Sports Coordinator Julie Mizraji, Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Institutional Advancement Ben Niles, North Quad Area Coordinator Maira Pantoja, Senior Project Manager for Design and Construction for Facilities Drew Rovan, Executive Assistant for Student Affairs Melissa Soleimani, Operations Specialist for Student Activities JV Souffrant, Director of Engagement Communications for Institutional Advancement Communications Alexandra Stephens, Prof. Robert Walsh (THA) and Prof. Chad Williams (AAAS).

In an interview with the Justice, Niles explained that this event was created based on “an event called Hoops for Haiti, back when there was the big earthquake in Haiti, back like nine to 10 years ago and … since I work with the group called the Brandeis Beacons on campus, a group of student ambassadors and school-spirit-type folks on campus, we wanted to do an event that can benefit causes on campus every year.”

After a warm up for both sides, the teams faced off. The first point was scored by the student team in under the first 30 seconds, also showing a strong defence from the beginning. The first faculty point was by scored Pantoja. With both teams fighting for possession and baskets, the first quarter ended with a score of 13–9 for the students. 

In a break before the next round of action, Camilla Casanueva ’21 was given 30 seconds to make a layup, a free-throw shot, 3-point and a half-court shot. After crushing the first three, she missed the half-court shot.


The second quarter started just after with a solid 3-point shot from Sawyer on the student team. After a layup also by Sawyer, the score was 18–9 in favor of the students. However, with two foul shots by Pantoja, the faculty started to make a comeback. Williams made a 3-point shot for the faculty after a 3-point shot made by the students, and by the end of the half, the score was 23–17, with the student team continuing its lead. 

During halftime, six students were selected to play a game of musical chairs to win $50 in cash — the winner was Ysabel Munoz ’21.

The third quarter began with a strong showing for the faculty and staff who continued to fight the large score gap between them and the students. With two minutes left in the quarter, both sides continued to score, bringing the score to 39–24 by the end of the third quarter. 

Between the third and fourth quarters, the Brandeis Judge mascot competed in a dance-off with the “Blue Man” — another costumed individual wearing a blue spandex suit. The blue man started busting moves to the song "Soldier Boy" followed by the Judge. The two went back and forth until the song changed to “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and finally “Baby Shark.” Ultimately, after a cheer-off by the crowd, the Judge mascot won.

The fourth quarter started with the students leading, but the faculty continued to bring their A-game, though they ultimately failed to pull ahead of their rivals. The game ended in a 50–40 win for the students.