Illini Bags brings socialization and service together

The University has hundreds of registered student organizations that cater to a wide range of interests, hobbies and pastimes. Whatever it is that you fancy, the University will probably have a club or two for you to join. For the few, however, who have a specific hobby in mind but no club to join, the solution is easy: Start your own. That’s what Peter Hackley and Travis Hoyne, seniors in Business, did when they found that the University didn’t have its own bags club.

“We were kind of surprised that there wasn’t already a bags club on campus, given that it’s so popular and so many people play it,” Hoyne said. “So we thought that if we started one, we could generate a lot of interest. And also raise money for charity.”

Bags, also known as cornhole, is a game where two teams toss bean bags at a hole. Points are awarded based on how close the bags are to the hole, with the most points being given for making it in.

The Illini Bags Club was created this past spring when Hackley and Hoyne decided to create an organization where students can play tournaments in a very relaxed setting while also raising money for a local charity, the Cunningham Children’s Home.

“We wanted to give back to the community,” Hackley said. “This isn’t the most productive club, but if we give back to the community, we can help and do good things while doing something we love to do.” In its first semester alone, Illini Bags Club raised over $350 in tournament entry fees. Tournaments generally last a few hours and are double elimination.

Hackley and Hoyne have been playing bags for years, playing competitively in local state fairs and even winning a few. However, talent level does not limit who can join the club.

“Some people might be intimidated by a bags club and think that everyone in it is a pro,” Hackley stated. “But really we’re just looking for anyone who just wants to come out and have a good time.”

Both Hackley and Hoyne encourage students of all skill levels to join.

“I think it’s a good club for all skill levels,” Hoyne said. “You play bags, yeah, but you’re really just hanging out, talking and having a good time. So that’s what it’s really about, as much as it is a sport, it’s really about having fun.” Because the game that the organization focuses on is so laid-back, the organization itself is too. Jared Brandau, senior in Engineering, and last semester’s bags tournament winner, finds that the club perfectly caters to his schedule and other time commitments.

“I enjoy playing bags and this was a club that didn’t really take a huge commitment like other clubs,” Brandau said. “I’m an engineering student so I don’t really have the time to commit to bigger clubs.”

Being one of the hundreds of RSOs represented on Quad Day, Illini Bags Club has seen a large amount of interested students ready to compete this fall.

“It’ll be a lot more different in the fall because of football season,” Hackley said. “People like to play bags with football, what with tailgating and everything, so I think we’ll have a good showing (this semester). It’ll be a lot of fun.”

The organization even plans to have events where playing bags isn’t for competition.

“We’re also going to grill out while we play bags every other week,” Hoyne said. “We’re going to do that by the sand volleyball courts so we can combine bags and volleyball and food. It should be a good time.”