Students smash cars as stress relief


Ryan Ash

The TEDxUIUC junk car waits to be hit on Saturday morning.

By Gwyn Skiles, Staff Writer | Night Editor

Angsty music, loud bangs, and victorious cheers rang through the South Quad on Oct. 31 as TEDxUIUC hosted a Halloween Car Smash where students could pay to whack an old, broken minivan.

The idea behind this started with Jason Han, senior in LAS and Co-President of TEDxUIUC, who wanted to provide students with an opportunity to safely release their aggression and share in a fun experience.

“We’re hoping this will bring a more college-like activity feel to students having this COVID-19 experience, especially freshman,” Han said. “Our main objective is to have fun while making sure we’re still safe.”

TEDxUIUC provided mallets, baseball bats, clubs, and spray paint for students to deface the car, in addition to safety goggles and gloves. All were sanitized after each use and masks were required. 

Students paid $1 to hit the car once, and $5 for 30 seconds of destruction time. All proceeds went to TEDxUIUC to help with their mission to “promote ideas worth spreading” as the Facebook post read.

Han explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased their amount of in-person activities, and, in-turn, their sponsorships. This loss sparked their need for a fundraiser.

“Companies right now aren’t very confident in sponsoring us because we aren’t really outputting anything, so we had to take it into our own hands and do our fundraiser,” Han said.

Nathan Zacher, sophomore in DGS, thought the event was a bang for his buck, literally and figuratively. 

He and his friends tried to tear the back bumper off, but were unsuccessful when his hammer broke. Zacher said if you break a part of the car off, you get to keep it. 

“I was trying to take that bumper home,” Zacher said. “It was simultaneously a disappointment and a thrill when the hammer broke. But it was overall pretty nice.”

Catrina Cujawa, sophomore in ACES, came with her roommate after seeing a poster in Scott Hall. She thought it would be a nice change of pace. 

Cujawa thought the activity served as a great way to provide COVID-19 stress relief to students. 

“Might as well use an old car that nobody is going to miss and have some whacky college students come and release some of their energy,” Cujawa said.


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