Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Amazing Race invites students to test their physical, mental stamina

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(Daily Collegian/Judith Gibson-Okunieff)

(Daily Collegian/Judith Gibson-Okunieff)

University of Massachusetts students came together at Wilder Hall Friday night to participate in the Amazing Race, a free campus-wide strategy game held at UMass every semester.

Inspired by the popular television show, Amazing Race competitors must solve clues located across the UMass campus. The clues, which challenge competitors both physically and mentally, are puzzles that unveil the location where their next task waits.

The race is hosted by the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), a student-centered learning agency that promotes advocacy, equity and inclusion in student affairs and campus life, according to the CMASS website.

The race is also organized by the UMass Police Department, which according to Lieutenant Tom O’Donnell, shares the belief that the UMass community, rich with diverse backgrounds and fields of study, can use this opportunity to collaborate with one another.

“It’s an excellent way for peers to engage and have fun with one another in a way that is safe,” said Wilma Crespo, interim co-director of CMASS. “They also can network with staff and familiarize themselves with the campus.”

“It’s a way for the police department to reach out and get to know some of the students,” said O’Donnell, who works closely with CMASS to facilitate the race each semester.

This semester, 37 teams of three were dressed in red “Amazing Race” shirts and athletic gear, excited to start the race.

Before announcing the game’s start at 7:35 p.m., O’Donnell stood outside Wilder Hall to explain the rules and regulations of the game.

The first clue indicated historical and architectural facts about an unknown building on campus. The clue stated facts about the building’s tremendous amount of concrete and brick, as well as some interesting facts about the African-American intellectual it’s named after. This building, of course, is the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. The race continued on from there.

Other challenges of this semester’s race included a UMass-themed crossword puzzle, and disco and bowling activities. One competitor of each team, selected by the team themselves, also had to swim in the pool in the Totman Gym.

“I wouldn’t want to swim in the pool,” said Maria Sucher, a sophomore double majoring in marketing and hospitality and tourism management, who spent the race working with CMASS to track competitors’ advancement throughout campus.

“My one regret is that I didn’t play,” Sucher said. “It looks like so much fun.”

At the end of the two-hour long race, two teams sprinted into Wilder Hall, unsure of where to go and what to do. They soon fiercely competed head-to-head arranging, in chronological order, a puzzle that indicated the race’s 15 locations.

A team called the Twinkle Toes, composed of Christine Cavallaro, Amanda Wyman and Erin Doherty, pulled ahead in the end, winning the race.

Cavallaro, who is a junior studying marketing, wrote in an email to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian that, “It was a great UMass event that I’m happy I got a chance to participate in with my teammates. The race was more intense than anticipated, but we stepped up for the challenge.”

The winning teams received “surprise” gift cards to Target.

Soon afterward, other teams began trickling into Wilder Hall where pizza, wings and drinks were served.

“We’ve been doing this for five years now,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve had to turn away some teams this semester and we’re surprised with how popular it’s become.”

Rachel Ravelli can be reached at [email protected]

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