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The Scarlet & Black

Campus-wide competition builds community

Pudding eating, kickball games, volleyball matches, the scavenger hunts, Sporcle and dodgeball are just a few of the events that have been played in the past week as a part of the Grinnell Wars.

If this past week has been wild with competition, Saturday promises to be positively raucous as contingents from North, South and East Campus square off to decide who will take home the trophy. In addition to healthy competition, the afternoon will feature events for the entire Grinnell College community.

“We hope it’s something that’s a real community builder in addition to just being a stress reliever, because life here is pretty hectic,” said Cyrus Mistry ’11, an organizer of the events.

Mistry, along with other organizers Pooj Padmaraj ’13 and Jordan Bell-Masterson ’12, have brought their idea of community building to life.

“I walked onto Mac Field last year and saw Selah—the one-time-only event in memory of [Russell K. Osgood]—with bouncy castles and a climbing wall and a huge barbeque,” Bell-Masterson said. “I was blown away because I’d never seen anything the school had done like that before. It was just the sweetest thing ever, and I was like, ‘Why do we not ever do things like this?’”

They did just that, despite the time crunch of coordinating a huge event in about two weeks. With the help of SGA liaison Gabe Schechter ’12, the group successfully organized an entire week of campus wide competitions. Saturday’s events will be the capstone to their handiwork.

“Saturday, the hope is [that] everybody comes out no matter what you’ve done during the week to participate,” Bell-Masterson said. “There are huge events … your professors [will be] out there as judges and participants. You’ve got a huge event at the end of the day, you’ve got something you’ve never seen before with siege engines and water balloons, which is just sweet as hell.”

Mac Field on Saturday will be covered with students hanging out, listening to music and eating the copious amounts of food that will be available. There will also be games such as Capture the Flag, Tug of War and soccer with a 40-inch ball.

Bell-Masterson spent the summer planning Grinnell Wars and its events. This fall, he discovered that his cross-country teammate Padmaraj had been organizing a big party, so they decided to combine their ideas into a week-long battle culminating in an all-campus event.

“Saturday there will be the rave in Gardner,” Padmaraj said. “It’ll be sweet. We have a lot of new DJs. There will be glow-in-the-dark bubbles.”

The rave will also feature glow sticks, glow paint, balloons, lasers and light machines, as well as strobe and black lights.

The week as a whole promises to be a memorable experience of camaraderie and competition. A banner will commemorate the winning floor, as well as a plaque or a trophy. The budget is large, approximately 1600 dollars, but the organizers insist that most items purchased are reusable, emphasizing that they hope that Grinnell Wars will become an annual competition.

“This is something that we hope will be steeped in tradition and just become an event that Grinnell is known for,” Mistry said. “If this continues, hopefully you’ll be able to come back ‘X’ number of years from now and see your banner hanging in the Dining Hall and say, ‘Oh yeah, my team won House Wars Fall of 2010.’”

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