Buffalo Bucket List No. 20: Oozefest

The Buffalo Bucket List is a series of articles highlighting my journey to achieve the full college experience in Buffalo, from Buffalo wings to Oozefest.

It’s a UB classic. Oozefest is a traditional volleyball tournament played in the mud pits by South Lake Village Apartment Complex. The tournament, put on by the UB Student Alumni Association (UBSAA), is designed to celebrate the end of the year in a fun and dirty way.

Luckily if you miss the event before you graduate, you can always come back. Both alumni and students are allowed to participate, so long as they register a team by the registration date and pay the fee.

Oozefest was introduced in 1984. The event was originally known as Oozeball and actually featured an event earlier in the week called Oozeball Night, which was celebrated at a local bar that advertised $.50 shots for Oozeball participants.

In 1995, Oozfest – note the difference in spelling – was made up of 96 teams and 768 players. That year the American Society of Civil Engineers did surveys of the ground to see if the field by Alumni Arena would eventually become the permanent ground. It didn’t, as we now know.

Eva Livecchi, the coordinator at the time, told The Spectrum in 1995 that“people like the idea of slipping and sliding all over the place.”

In 2004, Oozefest featured 128 teams, doughnuts for breakfast, subs for lunch and root beer pong.

Kyle Mackee, the head Oozefest referee that year, said, “The mud is what brings people out.”

In 2013, “Seven and a Half White Men” continued their three year Oozefest winning streak, beating 191 other teams with around 1,500 students. The team was made up of alumni who reunited every year for Oozefest.

Many people dressed up like characters from Despicable Me, Power Rangers and characters from the Super Mario series. Dressing in costumes has become a major part of the event.

Zach Ferhman, a sophomore chemical engineering major, said he is excited to play for his second time this year and said everyone should play or at least spectate at Oozefest before graduating.

“They literally have a section of land squared off for the sole purpose of making it as disgusting and muddy as possible,” Ferhman said. “Not only will you have fun playing volleyball, but it’s great seeing everyone’s team uniforms and costumes.”

Many students share similar reactions. It’s a uniquely UB event that should not be missed. Not every college can boast a mud volleyball tournament that has become a historical, entertaining and important part of student culture

Oozefest takes place every year before finals, usually the first or second weekend in May depending on how the calendar works out. It is the last hurrah of the academic year before finals begin. It’s an excuse to go out and have fun with your friends one last time before buckling down and studying. If you’re a senior, this can be one of your last events at UB. No one will be able to see your tears through the mud!

And with Oozefest, the Buffalo Bucket List, much like the year, comes to an end. I hope this list will give you plenty to do and achieve at UB before you graduate.

Remember: college is what you make of it. While you’re entitled to stay inside and do nothing, you’re also welcome to go out and experience Buffalo, the world and everything life has to offer. From culture to sports, from all-nighters to binge watching Netflix, college is a time full of experiences. Go ahead and make the college experience your own.

Daniel McKeon is a features editor and can be contacted at dan.mckeon@ubspectrum.com