Freshmen ran around the streets of Washington, D.C., last Saturday in an attempt to win first place in the first ever Big Hunt, a scavenger hunt with prizes including a trip to Walt Disney World and dinner with former senior White House advisor George Stephanopoulos.

The FRIENDS group, the deans’ offices, Interhall, the Corp and the Office of Student Conduct all contributed various amounts of money to sponsor the event. “We got a lot of support from the administration,” Riebl said. “That is what gave us the legitimacy and financial power that we needed.”

A total of approximately 200 first-year students, one eighth of the freshman class, signed up for the event. “We didn’t know what to except in terms of numbers,” Roland Riebl (MSB ’03), coordinator of the event, said.

All 36 teams made a mad rush for the Key Bridge. “At 11 on the dot 200 kids in red T-shirts started screaming and running,” Riebl said. “It was wonderful to see all the excitement.”

Each group had five hours to complete a sheet of trivia questions by going to various sights around the city and completing various stations, such as a hula hoop station at the Mall.

The first place team, named “Djibouti,” consisted of Kelsey Works (SFS ’06), Benay Brotman (COL ’06), Ann Entwhistle (NHS ’06), Amanda Hellman (COL ’06), Stephanie Vellios (COL ’06) and Lindsay Aylesworth (COL ’06). These six won a trip to Disney World for four nights during Spring Break, including airfare, accommodation and passes to Walt Disney World.

“We had maps and books and phone numbers ready,” Works said. “Our strategy was to go to the farthest point first and work our way back.” By the end of the day, the sixreturned tired and depressed, skeptical of their winning prospects. “We didn’t go the Arlington National Cemetery and we knew that some people did so we were positive we didn’t win,” Works said.

The second place team, “Pirates of the Magical Kingdom” – the name inspired by the Disney prize, according to team member Mark Murphy (SFS ’06) – won an all-expense paid dinner at 1789 with Stephanopoulos and Vice President for Public Affairs at Georgetown Dan Porterfield. The members were Murphy, Scott Cheney-Peters (COL ’06), Scott Weinstein (COL ’06), Slade Smith (MSB ’06), Stephen edlock (SFS ’06) and Andrew Herr (SFS ’06).

“This is probably the only chance I’ll get to go to 1789,” Murphy said. “I’m just kind of excited that I can order anything I want since I’m not paying for it.”

Murphy and Works both agreed that the most exciting part of the day was the struggle to get to the Kennedy center. “We sort of stumbled upon it accidentally,” Murphy explained, “and ran right across about five lanes of highway, dividers and construction just to get there.” Works added, “The people that worked there looked at us like `How did you get here.'”

The third place team, “Hendo’s Heroes,” won tickets to Six-Flags in Largo, Md., and consisted of Michael Hendricks (NHS ’06), Mollie Logue (SFS ’06), Fran Piccone (MSB ’06), Jimmy Buckley (MSB ’06), Dennis O’Reilly (SFS ’06) and Doug Curran (SFS ’06).

“Everything was precisely organized,” Riebl said. “There was a lot of thought behind every little thing.”

Riebl said the main reason for organizing this event was that after New Student Orientation, Georgetown has very few first-year programs. “Most of the programming is done by floors or through clubs so we wanted to do something that had no barriers to sign up and would be accessible to all freshmen,” Riebl said.

According to Riebl, November is a time when college really starts to wear on freshmen and so it is the perfect time for such an event. “In the beginning of the year there is a lot going on, but by November most freshmen start to have an identity crisis,” Riebl said.

The practical side of the Big Hunt, according to Riebl, was getting kids acquainted with the city and public transportation. “Most freshmen don’t get into the city a lot because everything is done on campus,” he said. “People just don’t utilize the city.”

While Riebl is enthusiastic about the event occurring annually, he says it will be difficult to recreate. The main reason for this is because there was no one organization behind the planning, no club, no logo, just a couple of friends who thought that it would be a cool idea. “There was no red tape,” he said, “and that was probably why it went so well.” Because of the money, time and effort that the event takes, Riebl said its future is uncertain.

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