May 25, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 17

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    Chicago students got into ‘spirit of the hunt’

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    The Scavenger Olympics on Saturday, May 13, on the Main Quadrangle brought out some warrior spirit during Ye Olde Socke ‘Em Bopper Jouste, shown above top. The winning jouster was Wombat the Rapid of the Max Palevsky team.

    Above, students form human bobsleds and race toward the finish line, with the Snell-Hitchcock team finishing in first place for the event.

    They had a crazy four days—and loved every minute.

    “When I finally woke up Monday and sat down in front of my homework, I thought to myself, ‘Yesterday, I led the winning team of the largest scavenger hunt in the world. What am I going to do today?’ Statistics problem sets were a very unsatisfactory answer,” said Jonathan Williams, a College third-year and co-captain of WOMBAT for Great Justice, the team that was named winner of the College’s Scavenger Hunt 2006.

    “Scavenger Hunt is life,” said fellow WOMBAT for Great Justice co-captain David Franklin, a College second-year. “It embodies all of the crazy things you want to do but don’t have any justification for on an everyday basis.”

    Nine teams, made up of students and alumni, participated in the 20th annual Scavenger Hunt, which took place from Thursday, May 11 through Sunday, May 14. It included a list of more than 300 items and clues and took teams on a road trip that stretched as far away as Arkansas.

    “I think I slept 10 hours in those four days,” Williams said. “But Scav Hunt was the only thing worth caring about. It demands everything you have, but rewards you in kind.”

    Fourth-year Courtney Prokopas, Head Scavenger Hunt Judge, said, “The Scavenger Hunt organizers delighted in the teams’ genuine affection for this year’s list. The care that was put into crafting many of this year’s items was at its peak in my three years of judging.”

    Items on the list included incorporating a trampoline “in conjunction with any item on the list to make that item more awesome,” in which case, WOMBAT for Great Justice excelled, Prokopas said, explaining that the team put a trampoline in the floor of “their phone-booth sized walk-in kaleidoscope.”

    For the Hungry, Hungry Hippos eating race, each team had to create a shopping-cart based, self-collecting hippo.

    One of the numerous Scav Olympics challenges was to create fire without using one’s hands, which is gracefully demonstrated here. The times ranged from five seconds to four minutes.

    All but one team was able to complete a “harrowing road trip,” which sent teams hunting for items in Missouri and Arkansas, Prokopas said.

    Over the course of the road trip, teams were required to photograph tourists hugging the base of the St. Louis Arch, team members riding Andy Williams’ moose and meeting Yakov Smirnoff in Branson, Mo., and delivering a statue of Bill Clinton to the William J. Clinton Presidential Park in Little Rock, Ark.

    Other items on the list included a bearskin rug, drawing a perfect circle freehand, a CTA transfer card, a super conductor, Volume 1, No. 2 of the Chicago Maroon, a coal-powered refrigerator, a Braille-reading team member, a quilt made to commemorate the Scavenger Hunt’s 20th anniversary, a ghost and a pet bee on a string.

    Winning may have been the end result for Williams and Franklin’s team, but it was not the reason they fought so hard and slept so little.

    “I feel that winning is kind of an afterthought to the spirit of the hunt,” Franklin said.

    Williams said, “It brings out the magnificent in us all. The hardest part about Scav Hunt is letting go. Our entire team is in serious Scav Hunt withdrawal right now.”