The sound of hammering nearly overwhelms the Burton-Judson courtyard as students clad in matching green shirts build a strange wooden structure. Nearby, others intently tape soda cans together. Such bizarre behavior can only be explained by Scav, UChicago's four-day scavenger hunt. It may only have been April 10th, but the Burton-Judson Scav team—or “Dr Scodel’s League of Atrocious Wonders” (“S.L.A.W.”, for short)—was eagerly engaged with their very own mini-Scav.
Starting on Thursday, May 6th, students all over campus will ignore homework, RSOs, and often their better judgment in an attempt to fulfill a list almost three hundred items long by Sunday. For most of its participants, Scav lasts four days. For the leaders of each team, it never ends.
Four captains preside over S.L.A.W.’s leadership, known collectively as Def Con. Weekly meetings allow the captains “to make sure that when Scav comes it happens easily for everyone who’s not involved in the planning,” said second-year and captain Grace Fisher. “There’s wood there, there’s paint there, there’s a structure in place for how to organize and claim items…to make sure that the rest of the team has an awesome experience.”
Def Con started collecting materials—wood, PVC pipes, cardboard—at the beginning of spring quarter. But preparation for Scav requires more than materials. Def Con has also worked hard to raise awareness. “During my first two years, Scav at B-J was definitely not as intense as it is now,” said fourth-year Katie Morris, a member of Def Con with the position of Team Mom. “It’s definitely a lot more organized, there’s definitely more people in all houses involved…there’s been a momentum gaining with B-J Scav team. We went from fifth my first year to third, to second.”
Part of the increased dorm involvement has to do with Def Con’s efforts to expose people to the wonders of Scav. They have held study breaks for S.L.A.W. in which past Scavvies recount tales of teammates wandering the campus dressed as Sasquatch. Death Con has also held parties to raise money and to remind people of the Burton-Judson Scav motto—if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Mini-Scav was a Burton-Judson first. “I don’t know if other teams do it,” said Fisher. “It served two main purposes. One was to have fun, and the other was really for the captains to feel what it’s like to lead an event like this.” Ex-pats served as judges, writing the list and giving S.L.A.W. half a day to complete it. Students performed thirty second versions of Twilight and “Pinochle Face” by a 60s Lady Gaga, collected change for Doctors Without Borders, and tried to build the judges a house.
“I Scav because it’s the four days of the year during which you get to take the amazing things you’ve learned as a University of Chicago student and apply them to something so completely not practical and practical all at the same time,” said Morris. “Because there’s never going to be another point in my life in which I need to build a Mao before 5:00 a.m...You take the University of Chicago perfection and channel it into four days and a hundred and eighty items. It’s incredible.”
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 6:40pm