By: Nicole Dotzenrod
On November 6, 36 teams of three gathered in Wilder Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the Amazing Race, sponsored by CMASS and the UMPD. In the Amazing Race teams earn clues which reveal “pit stop” locations all across campus where they must successfully complete a challenge to earn the clue to their next location. Student and staff volunteers helped direct each station. In addition, the Men and Masculinities Center, UMPD and CMASS sponsored the creation of Amazing Race t-shirts for participants.
“This is a great outlet to channel student’s energy in positive ways and build community since undergraduates and staff comes together as volunteers or as competitors,” said CMASS interim co-director Wilma Crespo.
This year’s race saw a huge spike in participants, with 108 people.
“I was not expecting this rise in participation but we are thrilled by the response from the UMass community,” said Crespo. “I believe the response comes from years of building the event with consistent outreach, creativity in crafting entertaining and challenging tasks, as well as increasing partners across campus that want to host these challenges.”
After a briefing on the rules of the event at Wilder Hall by UMPD Lieutenant Tom O’Donnell, teams were given their first clue – they had to decode a message written in hieroglyphic symbols posted around the room. The answer: “Go to the Fine Arts Center.”
Under the orange glow of lights outside the FAC, teams formed lines to participate in a game of cornhole – which proved harder than expected. Those teams better at eye-hand coordination gathered to decode their next clue.
Clues to the next location, given after teams completed the task at hand, varied from riddles to puzzles. Each year, CMASS and the UMPD put together a completely new competition, so there is no disadvantage to new teams.
From the FAC, teams staggered to the library, where they were tasked with using a call number to locate a specific book in the 26-story building to find a secret message. Next at the Stonewall Center, teams played a game of flash jeopardy.
Teams then scrambled to accurately count the number of plexiglass panels surrounding the Mullins Center ice rink.
As the night wore on, fatigued participants crossed campus to Worcester Dining Commons, where they rolled their own sushi. At the Integrated Science Building, team members had to successfully land three ping pong balls into their partner’s backpack from the fourth floor balcony. The final clue of the night led teams back to the beginning – Wilder Hall, where they were rewarded with pizza and wings.
The official winners of the Fall 2015 Amazing Race were the “Mello Dos Squad.” In second and third, were “Team Name” and “The Movers,” respectively. Members of each winning team received Target gift cards.