University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt
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During the Scavenger Hunt, teams compete to acquire items off a list of approximately 300 items, with each item assigned a point value and evaluated by a panel of judges. Items involve performances, construction, arts and crafts, research, travel and finding obscure objects. Lists typically include at least one item that takes place on the University's main quadrangles while students are in class, a party on Friday night, a road trip (with its most distant point from campus being 1,000 miles or less), an item encouraging team members to donate blood, and Scavenger Olympics, which includes original games and athletic competitions.
Scav Hunt was founded in 1987 by Chris Straus, who organized the list and judged items with Cassie Scharff, Diane Kelly, Nolan McCarty, and Rick Jeffries. Perhaps the most notable item that has yet been completed was from the 1999 list; a breeder reactor in a shed was successfully built on the main quadrangle. The item itself was a joke referring to the "Radioactive Boy Scout" David Hahn. The students irradiated thorium with thermal neutrons and observed traces of uranium and plutonium.
In 2002, Scav Hunt was the subject of a documentary titled The Hunt. The 2007 Scav Hunt was also the subject of a documentary, Scavengers. The Scav Hunt holds the Guinness World Record for largest scavenger hunt.
The Scavenger Hunt committee is a registered student organization at the University of Chicago. The list is compiled by this panel of judges, who also do the majority of preparation for the Hunt and evaluate completed items. The judges begin compiling the list almost immediately after the end of the previous Scav Hunt, and continue to add items throughout the year. Judges, of course, are sworn to secrecy of the contents of next year's list.
Those who wish to become judges must submit an application, usually consisting of a sample list and a questionnaire. Applicants passing this first round are then subjected to an interview with the existing judges. Judges are University of Chicago students, and those chosen to join their number are often previous team captains or perennial participants of the hunt. Actual methods of judge selection, however, are kept secret. Usually, fragments of the sample lists of the newly chosen judges are added to next year's list. New judges are generally selected near the end of the calendar year. Judges are appointed for life, but are required to maintain eligibility to join a student organization to remain active.
Judges and those involved in making the list are the members of the Scavenger Hunt Committee known as "Hot Side Hot." Those who help organize Scav Hunt without becoming a judge are known as "Cold Side Cold", whose members are not permitted to know the contents of next year's list or otherwise participate in Hot Side Hot's secretive preparations. The current Head Judge is Jeremy Ziring.
- A periodic coffee table. (25 points plus 1 point per element included)
- A real live, breathing elephant. (500 points)
- Consume Balut
- A breeder reactor built in a shed, and the boy scout badge to prove credit was given where boy scout credit was due. (500 points) This item was completed, although the team only came in second place.
- A zeusaphone. (300 points)
- A Stradivarius violin, viola or cello. (90 points for a violin, 125 points for a cello, 150 points for a viola)
- "2009 List, Rules, #10". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Items". Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "In Chicago, Ph.D.'s Take a Back Seat to a Degree of Silliness". Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "The Hunt". Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "The Searchers". Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- "Largest scavenger hunt". Retrieved 2012-01-26. 924 people participated in a miniature scavenger hunt event during the 2011 Hunt.
- "ScavOlympics" (pdf). Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- "The 1997 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt List". Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "The 2010 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt List". Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "2005 Scav Hunt".
- Gary Wisby (15 May 1999). "UC junior wraps up 'Jeopardy!' college title". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 1.
- Andrew Bluth (19 May 1999). "On Campus: It's that season at Chicago, and Ph.D.'s have taken a back seat to a degree of silliness.". New York Times.
- "The 2008 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt list". Retrieved 2008-05-12.