Get in The Hunt During Welcome Week

Posted: August 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm, Last Updated: August 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

By Robin Herron

If you’re a faculty or staff member who thinks “The Preamble: Welcome Week” is only for students, think again.

If you like puzzles, teamwork and rewards, there’s a new activity this year that may pique your interest: The Hunt.

The event is spearheaded by Mason senior Kevin Loker, who had an internship with the Washington Post and borrowed the idea from the popular Post Hunt. Loker, executive editor of Connect2Mason, describes The Hunt as “an adventure puzzle.”  At Mason, it will involve roaming the Fairfax Campus as part of a team, searching for clues that will solve puzzles.

Loker won’t give away many details, but he does say it involves some out-of-the-box thinking.  He had help designing the puzzles from Aram Zucker-Scharff, community manager for the Office of Student Media; Samantha Gray and Regan Fallon, co-public relations managers for the Office of Student Media; and  Annie Rowson, a student at Northern Virginia Community College.

“It’s a cool way to start the year — with an adventure,” Loker says.

What he’s really hoping is that the teamwork required will “break down the barriers” between faculty, staff, students and alumni, who are all invited and encouraged to participate, even on the same teams.

Loker has already gotten President Alan Merten on board to welcome “hunters” before they get started at noon on Saturday, Sept. 3 (breakfast and other pre-hunt activities are scheduled as a warm-up). And Loker has a promo lined up that features Provost Peter Stearns.

Not to brag, but Loker says The Hunt has sponsorships from throughout the university: University Life, Mason Dining, the Child Development Center, Admissions, University Relations, Parking and Transportation and the Mason Inn, to name a few. CAFÉ-GMU, a student organization devoted to cooking, will provide cookies.

If the challenge of solving some mind-bending puzzles isn’t enough, there are prizes. The student team prize is $1,000, and the Mason Community team prizes are Kindles — up to four of them.

There is no advance sign-up; you just show up. However, each team must register a team representative, who will be responsible for divvying up the prize should the team win. The team representative will be required to present their Mason ID or alumni card at the end of The Hunt. (Alumni can either bring their old student ID or pick up an Alumni Association Member card from the Office of Alumni Affairs during business hours.)

Right now, Loker says, the most important thing is to assemble your team and begin planning for your team photo, which will be entered into a contest.

See The Hunt website for all the details.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu