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Scav Hunters kick off frenzy to finish

Photo: Sharat Ganapati/The Chicago Maroon
Members of the Max Palevsky Scav Hunt team, Take, Acquire, Copy, or Steal (TACOS), strategize in the Max Palevsky East common room Thursday afternoon.

With a characteristic blend of whimsy, obscure trivia, and wit, this year’s list of items for Scav Hunt teams to achieve, perform, and obtain covers a dizzying array of subjects. The term “item” itself is called into question by some of the more abstract articles on the list.

The Scavenger Hunt Organization Committee released the 2007 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt List on Wednesday at midnight. The list consists of 330 items, each assigned a point value, in addition to ten final items for the Scav Hunt Olympics, which are held Saturday on Eckhart Quad.

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. [8 points],” is item 12. Item 10 is slightly more coherent in that it states a fact, but still not an achievable feat: “Little-known fact: Frederick T. Robie was actually…a banker? [9 points in quarters].”

Other questions are cleverly phrased and require more philosophical responses: item 166 asks for “A Chunk of Pure Evil. [5 points]”.

And others require real commitment and time, such as the road trip items, which can send a team traveling up to 1,000 miles from Chicago.

This year, item 36 calls for a road trip to Minnesota. “We can’t send you all the way to Mount Rushmore, but we can send you to Rushmore, MN,” the clue reads.

Of course, the Scav Hunt list was not without its ironies and wordplays, and according to Minister of Propaganda (Scav terminology for head of Public Relations) and fourth-year Claire Gilbert, some items were added just for the amusement of judges and teams.

Item 48, for instance: “Remember when we said, ‘we can’t send you all the way to Mount Rushmore’? Just kidding, you’re totally going to Mount Rushmore. [14 presidential points]”

Gilbert said the teams left this morning dressed as a Conestoga wagon in order to reflect their journey west.

With this year’s Scav Hunt also comes a change in the annual Scav Hunt party on Saturday night: it will now be an official University-run event with alcohol.

“It’s always been a University event because we’re an RSO,” Gilbert said. “In the past, it’s technically been a dry event, and this year, it’s an official alcohol event, so there will be more security, and the Scav hunt committee had to purchase alcohol.”

In the past, even though it was a dry event, individual teams took it upon themselves to bring alcohol anyway.

Gilbert noted a positive change that comes with the more structured Scav Hunt party: The Scav teams won’t have to spend money that “would otherwise be spent on completing items—that’s a very positive thing that’s come of this change.”

The party will also be held on the Social Sciences quad instead of the Main Quad, in an effort to maintain only one entrance to the party, where IDs will be checked. There will also be increased security hired by the University.

Alcohol will not be permitted for students under 21. Gilbert said this rendered the party similar to any University-run event at which alcohol is being served, such as the Hype Yacht Cruise and the Mardi Gras celebration, in which IDs are checked and a maximum of three drink per person maximum is set.

Gilbert noted the irony that this year’s Scav Hunt marks the 21st year of the tradition’s history. “We’re legal!”

The theme of turning 21 is reflected in item 181: “It’s Scavhunt’s 21st birthday! And you know what that means? Time for a pub crawl! Let no bar be barred as honkey tonks across time and space make their way to the Social Sciences quads, to raise a toast till the last call bell knells. Juke-joints will be assigned at the Captains’ Ball. It’s eight o’clock on a Friday… let the regular crowds shuffle in! [l points]”

One thing that won’t change about this year’s party is that each team will still run an individually themed component of the party, all keeping with the general theme of being 21 and pub-crawling. Each team will create its own individual pub on the quad, using movies such as Harry Potter, Casablanca, Lord of the Rings, and Moulin Rouge as their muses.