That Saturday Group (TSG) hosted a scavenger hunt on the evening of Sept. 15 to challenge new and returning students’ knowledge of Pomona College. Teams of two met at Mudd Lounge, including me and my partner, Audrey Glaser PO ’16.
Arriving 10 minutes early to the meeting, I was surprised and relieved to see that no other competitors were present in the lounge. But right before 8 p.m., students began to flood in, and the atmosphere in the room escalated from relaxed to competitive. I scanned the room and judged our opponents. Some were clearly prepared, wearing dark athletic shorts and shoes; others chose to intimidate rivals with face paint. A few students came casually in jeans and flip-flops, which would prove to be a poor choice.
We began to mingle. As expected at Pomona, everyone was friendly. But because prizes were involved, I knew people were masking their vicious ambitions with small talk and smiles. The organizers, Yesenia Garcia PO ’15, Neima Rahim PO ’13 and Trevor Smith PO ’15, rose to explain the rules for the hunt. The teams would be given clues for locations to visit on campus, and at each location, they needed to take a picture of at least one member indicating the answer to the clue.
Once the organizers handed out the lists of clues, the hunters went ballistic. Students scattered to different areas, letting out shouts and cries. With everyone fleeing the room, Glaser and I were left to piece together our hints in privacy. Our plan of action was to figure out each clue first and then create a route to hit each site efficiently. Slow and steady wins the race, right? We looked down at our first clue:
“I have an older brother, he doesn’t live too far
Think back to orientation, a time so bizarre.”
That clue seemed easy enough: Little Bridges. Yet some clues were not as clear to us first-years:
“Before I was named I was just a letter
A green contribution to make the world better.”
Since that stumped us, we decided to embark upon our adventure. Like a pair of wild cougars chasing their prey, we leapt out of Mudd with a ferocious cry and began our tumultuous sprint around the Pomona campus. Darting across lawns, courtyards and sidewalks, we scrambled to take pictures of ourselves, most of them blurry (and all of them unflattering). We could hear others speeding through the campus, their papers rustling madly in the darkness.
Eventually, we ran out of energy and slowed to a walking pace. While prizes were motivational, our competitive spirit just could not live up to that of our peers. As we took a break, it was entertaining to step back and witness students giggling and screaming across campus as they hastily passed us by.
We were not the only pair that faced difficulties. Sarah Laws PO ’16 said she “grabbed the first sheet of paper they handed out and sprinted out the door. We were reading as running, and the first clue was, ‘What is your favorite animal?’ We assumed it was supposed to be a Sagehen, so we ran to The Coop Store to take a photo with one of the Cecils. It turned out we got the wrong sheet of paper.”
All pairs eventually either finished or admitted defeat and returned to Mudd Lounge. When Glaser and I returned, we learned that the first three teams had already been awarded their prizes. The winners of the hunt were David Baxter PO ’16 and Gustavo Ruiz PO ’13 who each received $30 in Claremont Cash. I’ll give it to Baxter – it was a smart tactic to pair up with an upperclassman.
“I guess the funniest part of the scavenger hunt was how I tripped and nearly died running from Pomona Hall all the way to President Oxtoby’s house,” proud victor Baxter said. “Sneaking up to President Oxtoby’s house at night all sweaty was another absurd moment of the night.”
Many players, exhilarated after their quest, hung around the lounge comparing stories. TSG created a fun-filled Saturday night, one of many party alternatives the club will be hosting throughout the year.