English department kicks off year with scavenger hunt


Photo Caption (Left to Right): First-place winners Will Noyes, Manebu Taketani, Baxter, Atticus Getz, and Tom Bouwkamp pose with their display. Photo by Kate Parsons

What do engraved chopsticks, living algae, and a stuffed giraffe have in common?

All were objects to be found at the English department’s recent dinner and scavenger hunt.

English majors, minors and professors mingled in the English department lobby on Friday, eating pizza and sampling many types of pie.

Fifth-year Senior Michal Jones has been a long and enthusiastic attendee of the annual event.

“It is the highlight of the first two weeks of school,” she said. “It’s kind of fun to see everyone in the program interact with the professors on a more casual level.”

Professor Elizabeth Vander Lei agreed. “We have these events to help people feel like the English department is their academic home here,” she said. “It’s good for [students] see their professors and their classmates outside of classes.”

This year the highlight of the evening was the judging of the scavenger hunt, which had taken place the day before. Teams of students were given clues to different objects to find and display. Each team was judged on completeness and creativity of the presentation.

The five-person team “First Werp One” took home first prize for their display of over twenty different objects. The friends’ efforts included gathering their own algae from the seminary pond and constructing a handmade raft.

They estimated it took about seven hours to put the display together.  “It was a great team effort,” said sophomore Tom Bouwkamp. Each member of “First Werp One” received an illustrated book as well as dinner out with the professor of their choice.

Each scavenger hunt item was related in some way to this year’s “One book, one department” selection, which was announced as Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi. Each attending student was given a copy of the book and encouraged to sign up for discussion groups, events or a trip to see the movie adaptation this fall.

Freshman Audrey Enters said the event was “a lot of fun.” She said it made her more excited about future opportunities and events within her department.

Professor Vander Lei was also enthusiastic about the event and the way the scavenger hunt had encouraged students to work together.  “You learn better when you’re learning in a community,” she said.