The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

Follow us on Instagram

Over 350 UK students participate in annual ‘Ping Pong Ball Drop’ for the chance to win prizes

Isabella Sepahban
Students try to catch as many ping pong balls as possible as they fall from Patterson Office Tower at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY on April 22, 2024. Photo by Isabella Sepahban | Staff

Over 350 University of Kentucky students gathered outside of Patterson Office Tower to catch over 1,000 ping pong balls during the university’s annual “Ping Pong Ball Drop” for the chance to catch one of 10 golden balls.

The event, put together by the Student Activities Board (SAB), occurred at noon on Monday, April 22, but students started gathering as early as 11:30 a.m. to prepare for the ball drop.

Students who participated in the ball drop also had the opportunity to sign up and earn money through UK Invests, a program that offers UK students money for participating in campus events.

As students gathered outside of Patterson Office Tower awaiting the ball drop, they held a variety of containers, such as umbrellas, boxes, backpacks and purses. The said purpose of these containers was to catch as many ping pong balls as possible.

“It’s an event based on luck,” UK family sciences doctoral candidate Lynn Maamari said. “It’s just so exciting.”

Maamari said it was her first time participating in the ball drop. She used her Coach bag to catch the falling ping pong balls.

“I always missed it (the ball drop), and I was like, ‘Okay you know what, it’s my last semester here so let’s just do it,’” Maamari said.

The ping pong balls were thrown in three separate rounds from the top of Patterson Office Tower by SAB leaders, UK freshman and SAB member Jack Lattuca said

Once the ball drop began, students piled under the building to catch as many ping pong balls as possible.

Out of the thousand balls dropped, only 10 were spray painted gold. These golden ping pong balls, once caught, were used to redeem different prizes.

“This event is kind of a way at the end of the year to give away a lot of prizes,” Lattuca said. “We offered two flat-screen TVs, an Xbox, two cameras, two speakers, AirPods and then two headphones.”

Some students were successful in catching a golden ball, like UK aerospace engineering sophomore Caeden Bartley, who won a new pair of headphones. 

Bartley said he planned on replacing his old headphones anyways.

“Those (old headphones) are a couple years old, and I needed a new pair,” he said.

Bartley said he had heard of the ball drop during his previous years at UK but only now decided to take part in the event.

“I walked by and there was a crowd of people,” Bartley said. “And I remembered it from last year … I saw it and was like, ‘I’ll do it this year and hopefully win something.’”

Other students, like UK marketing junior Carter Brown, also caught a golden ping pong ball, but were not able to get the prizes they originally wanted.

“I feel amazing, ecstatic, but at the same time, very disappointed that someone took the Xbox because that’s what I wanted,” Brown said. 

Brown credited his ball-catching abilities to the help of his friend, UK mechanical engineering sophomore Jadon Baggett.

“This year, we came prepared and we’ve been strategizing,” Brown said. “We got the upside-down umbrella, (and) I sat on my friend Jadon’s shoulders. That way we could get a little bit more elevation … My idea was that that was gonna help us out with getting a ping pong ball.”

Both Baggett and Brown said they were excited to participate in next year’s ball drop.

“I’m definitely gonna do this again,” Baggett said. “I’m thankful for this campus for putting this on, and not only getting UK Invests money, but like, a chance to win prizes … It’s a great way to build school spirit and just do something fun on campus.”

The ping pong ball drop has been a UK tradition for over eight years, and serves as a time for students to celebrate the end of the spring semester.

“It’s just a fun, like, event to get people excited about things going on on campus and give them the opportunity to win a prize that they might not be able to get otherwise,” UK senior and SAB president Hannah Bondi said.

Bondi said the ball drop is one of her favorite events SAB puts together and is excited for the tradition to continue.

“I feel like it’s just really one of the events that people remember after their time here at UK,” Bondi said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Kentucky Kernel Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *