‘Retro night’ beats out ‘beer pong’ in final Queen’s Apprentice

John Uhren was declared Queen’s Apprentice Tuesday night.
John Uhren was declared Queen’s Apprentice Tuesday night.
Credit: 
Emily Bazett-Jones

It was the “grand slam” Business Professor John Pliniussen—a.k.a. The Johnald—was looking for.

John Uhren, Law ’08, rocked his way to victory ’80s style at the final Queen’s Apprentice boardroom Tuesday night. Uhren, who was named the next Queen’s Apprentice, competed against 17 other students over the course of seven weeks to earn the title.

“We all bought into the emotion you were sharing,” Pliniussen told Uhren, announcing him victorious. “Keep that up and we’ll read about you in the future.” On the night that decided it all, the game’s final challenge was to create a business plan outlining a viable way to open Alfie’s for more than one night each week. Alfie’s is currently only open on Fridays.

A lively crowd of about 200 students gathered at Alfie’s to watch The Johnald and his cohort of five judges drill contestants regarding the feasibility of their plans.

Uhren was the first to present his idea: he proposed a Retro Tuesdays event, which would be sponsored by local radio station BOB FM. Uhren said he marketed the plan as both “undergrad and grad student friendly.”

Uhren said the radio station agreed to subsidize DJ fees and website advertising. Uhren also created a recorded radio advertisement, which he played for the audience. He was then joined around the boardroom table by a large group of dancers dressed in full ’80s garb. When the dancers returned to their seats and the crowd quieted down, judge Meghan Malloy, TAPS marketing manager, admitted Uhren’s idea had won her over.

“Frankly, those short jean shorts sold me,” she said, referring to one of the dancer’s costumes.

Next up was Kevin Laughren, Comm ’08 who presented a plan to create a competitive sports league based on beer pong.

Beer pong is a table-top game where players try to bounce a ball into cups at the opposite end. If the ball goes in, the player must drink the contents of the cup.

After citing statistics he gathered through random polling, Laughren suggested that as a conservative number, five per cent of University students make up what he called the “beer pong faithful.”

“These are people who love beer pong, who are willing to go out drinking on a weeknight,” he said. “Beer pong has the potential to be huge, way more than any theme night.”

But the judges challenged Laughren’s plan. Malloy said the game couldn’t be advertised on campus because of its reference to alcohol, and StuCon judge Andrew Crosby said more StuCons would have to be present than Laughren budgeted.

A kilt-clad Kate Cibrowski, ArtSci ’08, made the final presentation, outlining her bid for a Wednesday afternoon “East Coast party.” The central facets of her plan were live cover bands, cheap drinks and an early afternoon start time.

Judge Angus Cole, Alfie’s manager, said her music would be hard to dance to, and Mike Forsayeth, CFO for Cara Foods said the East Coast theme might alienate students from the West Coast and the prairies.

Cibrowski said that although she was disappointed to lose, she was happy to have made it to the final round of competition.

“It was [good] just getting to know more about the business market,” she said. “I’m in philosophy and drama, so I had never done anything like this before.” Uhren said the best part of the competition was learning more about his own abilities.

“You learn about yourself, about leadership, about working with a team.”

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