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Scav Hunter devours umbilical-cord Twinkie

Last Sunday, an awed crowd of students and cameramen from NBC -5 in Ida Noyes watched in anticipation as Phil Caruso, a first-year in the College and Rickert House resident, completed item #8 on the Scav Hunt list for the Max Palevsky team. Caruso took out from a package his umbilical cord, which his mother had sent to him, stuffed it into a Twinkie, and without hesitation ate it.

“Nobody ever had to persuade him; it was all volunteer,” said Alan Mardingly, a second-year in the College and Co-Captain of the Max Palevsky team (Phoenix, Bitch). “My hat is off to him.” Phoenix, Bitch gained 96 points with Caruso’s stunt.

Thus ends another chapter in the chronicle of Scav Hunt, the yearly celebration of insanity that unleashes everything a twisted student imagination can come up with. Now in its 18th year of wreaking havoc on the usually dour quads, this year’s event, entitled “Chicagous Scavhuntis,” again found willing participants in students wanting to break away from the mold of a staid academic life—or just wanting to do something crazy.

Students gathered on Sunday at Ida Noyes for Judgment Day, which was littered with various items from a list of 282, including official Illinois recognition of a gay marriage, a bicycle built for twelve, and proof of UC students putting up posters at Princeton University.

That craziness peaked on Sunday evening as Scav Hunt judges announced the Snell-Hitchcock team, Hitchcapocalypitc Death Snell, to be the winner of the 2004 Scav Hunt. Snell-Hitchcock, a traditional powerhouse of Scav Hunt, lost to Max Palevsky the past two years, after Palevsky became a dorm and formed their own competitive team. Palevsky was this year’s second-place winner.

Lauren Beitler, a fourth-year in the College and the co-captain of the Snell-Hitchcock team, led her teammates to a celebration with ice cream sandwiches on the quads after they were announced the winners.

“Hitchcapocalypitc Death Snell had an amazing team,” Beitler said, via e-mail.

“We could not have won without the hard work of everyone involved. I was really impressed by how well everyone got along even during stressful moments—we were very unified as a team.”

Though her team was dedicated, Beitler said they were not afraid to let their hair down.

“We’re not very dictatorial—everyone had their own ideas about how to make or get the items, and we made suggestions but mostly left it up to whoever was building or getting the item,” Beitler said. “I would like to think that our efforts to have things be organized made the hunt run more smoothly, and helped everyone have more fun. We had a great time throughout the hunt.”

Some of Snell-Hitchcock’s many accomplishments were building an impressive giant sombrero with a radius of over 10-feet, and singing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” in sign language, which was done by Hitchcock R.A. Jordan Paterra.

According to Mardinly, Max P. succeeded because all participants dedicated themselves to reaching their team’s goals.

“I’ve always maintained that first-years are the heart of our team,” Mardinly said. “Obviously we’d be nowhere close to second place if it weren’t for the first-years.” He added that this year’s first-years would provide next year’s leadership.

The Shoreland team, the Emperor’s New Outfit, which came in fourth place, used the teamwork, ingenuity, and resourcefulness for which University students are known. Ian Huisker, a second-year in the College and Shoreland co-captain, cited one event in Scav Olympics in which his team built an Atlas sphere made of duct tape and cardboard that was big enough to contain a person.

“I was a big fan of our Atlas here. Ghetto-fab, baby,” said Huisker, who also went by the name Victor Neminis during the hunt. “I had a whole lot of fun. I was mostly a general resource and sounding board, but I pitched in more tangibly here and there.”

One of the biggest surprises this year was the independent team of Vegans, G-Sprout, which gained 2,000 points and placed seventh, despite only having 10 members and a limited budget. Eric Purdy, the team’s co-captain and a third-year, congratulated his team for doing the best they could for a first-time Scav Hunt team.

“We’re really proud of how we did because we were one of the most impressive first-year showings,” Purdy said. “And we don’t have a dorm behind us.” Purdy’s favorite event was the party on the main quads, at which the Vegan team came dressed as characters from the movie The Mummy. They decorated their table in the fashion of a pyramid complete with hieroglyphics, Sanskrit chants, and minions spitting out scarabs. Purdy said that the Vegans would probably enjoy competing in next year’s Scav Hunt.

Until then, students will just have to put away their stratigraphic columns of Chicago made out of Jell-O, put their McDonald’s Sad Meals in the fridge, and wait for next spring for another chance to streak through the Seminary Co-op.



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