New Homecoming competition uses social media, creativity to earn points toward Maroon Cup
What do Tebow-ing, a fake marriage proposal, and the Central Michigan University seal have in common?
All three were goals in the Instagram-based Gold Rush event for the Maroon Cup. The event, organized by Central Michigan Student Life, had students using Instagram to complete various photo-based challenges.
“It was really fun. It was a new twist on Homecoming that had never been done before,” Midland Sophomore and Larzelere team member Mandi Shook said.
The Larzelere team’s journey started at Finch Field House, where teams exchanged chants and played games before the event. Soon after all the teams arrived, each team received a manilla envelope containing the objectives for the Gold Rush. Using one Instagram account, teams had one hour to complete as many of the 100 goals as they could. The more goals completed in one piture would lead to more points.
Event Coordinator and Holland Senior Will Damian started his stop watch, and the event began.
The Larzelere team was quick to start taking pictures. They formed a system that had one person taking the photos, one person keeping track of the completed goals and everyone else posed in the pictures.
The team got off to such a fast start that their designated photographer couldn’t keep up.
“I can’t take a picture, because I haven’t sent the last one,” Rockford Sophmore and team photographer Mackenzie Guest said.
The team quickly set off across campus, while creatively combining their challenges. They traveled from the university seal to Larzelere Hall and even stopped at Powers Hall to ‘plank’ on the Leadership Institute sign.
“Planking on the leadership sign without shoes was really cool,” Port Sanilac Freshman Lauren English said.
The team then made their way from north campus to Moore Hall, taking photos the entire way. From sleeping with a football while wearing sunglasses to standing in front of a blue light doing a handstand, nearly every part of campus was included in a picture.
The hour passed and the group of Larzelere students was back at Finch waiting for the results of the competition.
“If we don’t win, I won’t be upset; I just want to finish above the teams that are ahead of us,” Shook said.
Though the team was competitive, the Homecoming spirit still prevailed.
“It’s all in the spirit of Homecoming, so it’s all for CMU,” Shook said.
Larzelere ended up placing second, with 163 points from 25 pictures. Merrill Hall won the event with 182 points.
With the competition aside, the team reflected on the benefits of the event.
“(The event is) good for new students, because it shows you all around campus and makes you find specific things about it,” Illinois Freshman Jacob Zaffron said.
Damian was pleased with how the event was perceived by the competitors.
“I had a lot of people come up to me and say that this was one of the best Homecoming events they had ever gone to. It just warmed my heart,” he said. “I’m really happy with it, and I think a lot of other people are, too.”
According to Damian, the event generated 218 total photos from 16 teams over the 60-minute period. That equates to one photo every 16 seconds. With high levels of participation, Damian is confident the event will continue to be part of the CMU Homecoming experience.
“They should definitely keep (Gold Rush) around, because it’s something exciting, and it was something we weren’t expecting,” Guest said.
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