In the recently released The Hunger Games, tributes from the 12 Districts of Panem fight to the death in the ultimate game of wit, strength, survival and luck. The tributes often have skills deriving from the industry their district is responsible for. District 4, known for fishing, usually gives tributes who can swim, while District 11’s hold on agriculture breeds tributes accustomed to taxing physical labor. Now, what if the undergraduate schools of Northwestern were districts? How would tributes from the different realms of academia stack up against one another in the Games?
Bienen School of Music
With acute hearing derived from listening over and over to musical notes, Bienen tributes would take a more defensive approach to the Games. This skill would allow them to hear other tributes thrashing though the arena and hide before a confrontation occurs. Furthermore, they would be able to pick up on different animal calls and footsteps to then hunt for food. Although they might not play an active role in tracking down their competitors, do not underestimate the Bienen tributes. Usually accustomed to a variety of different instruments, a student from this school might just end up mastering varying weapons found throughout the arena.
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Due to the wide array of majors in WCAS, pinpointing what one specific student’s talents could be tough. If a new tribute is chosen each year, the skills he or she may have would be totally unpredictable, and this obscurity is the talent itself. Other competitors in the Games wouldn't know what to expect. A chemistry major might concoct a deadly mixture of tracker jacker venom and nightlock berry juice that causes people to see their worst fears right before dropping dead. Watch out for history majors, who would probably know how all the past winners of the Games claimed victory and use these old tactics to terminate the other tributes.
The Medill School of Journalism, Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications
Because Medill students are expected to master reporting, writing and multimedia, versatility would be one of their most valuable assets. Learning so many things in a sink-or-swim environment produces tributes who could pick up using different weapons during training fairly quickly and jump into action once the Games begin. Furthermore, Medill students have a strong understanding of the media’s influence. A tribute from Medill would use their position in the public’s eye to attract as many sponsors as possible, an investment that could pay off quite nicely in the arena.
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Students from Northwestern’s engineering school would give tributes from District 3 a run for their money. Many of these engineers-in-training can build things from solar cars to prosthetic legs. With the right equipment available in the Games, they could assemble a ray gun to take out their enemies or construct a fortress using materials from the Cornucopia to keep themselves protected. McCormick students also are already familiar with one of the arenas most feared by mankind: Tech.
School of Communication
Communication students would use the media to their advantage, similar to the Medill tributes. The Games are mostly about survival, but knowing how to play the game before entering the arena is vital as well. By using charisma and smiles during opening ceremonies and interviews with Caesar Flickerman, Communication tributes would lock down Capital sponsors right away to ensure assistance later on in the Games. Competitors from this Northwestern school could persuade tributes working together in packs to let them join the group. Other competitors should be careful trusting a Communication tribute—they might just wake up with a knife in their chest, or a sharp tripod leg if it's an RTVF student.
School of Education and Social Policy
SESP tributes would probably have the best understanding of what the Gamemakers have in store for the tributes. With curriculums based off of human development, organizational change, education and social structures, students could get into the heads of the Gamemakers. They would predict spots in the arena that the Gamemakers would most likely booby trap and lure their competitors to these death snares. They would also know what twists the Gamemakers may implement and how to use them to their advantage. Be careful hunting down a SESP student—they’re probably one step ahead of everyone else.