Muscles will only get competitors so far in this year’s Freshman Olympics.
In an effort to include more freshmen in the games, which are scheduled for April 2, the organizers are planning a wider array of events that test more than just athletic ability and that promote community awareness. Whereas in past years the Freshman Olympics have primarily focused on feats of strength and athletic skill, this year the day will include checkers and chess tournaments, hat designing contests and a “dress to impress” contest, said Bill Fishel ’08, one of the event’s organizers and head of the Freshman College Council’s activities committee.
Other ideas that the FCC considered included expanding the Olympics into a multi-day event, with a pageant to crown an emperor and empress of the games. But organizers said they were unable to realize these plans because they could not find a venue for the pageant.
“From what we’ve heard, the Olympics have been historically a really fun event,” Fishel said. “We wanted to expand on that, keep a similar format, but try to blow it up some. We want to try and help include kids that aren’t necessarily going to participate in the relay race.”
The FCC is also working with Dwight Hall to coordinate some of the day’s events, FCC member Jessica Bialecki ’08 said. One of the contests will be a fund-raising competition, in which each college will compete to raise the most money for Dwight Hall. This event will be worth three times as many points as any other event, Bialecki said. In the evening, the FCC and Dwight Hall will co-sponsor a dance.
The charity events in this year’s Freshman Olympics are a result of the FCC’s desire to promote community awareness, Fishel said. Last semester, the FCC created a new community service committee to this end.
“We wanted something that could be a legacy of ours,” he said.
To encourage as much participation in the games as possible, team captains were selected from each college to sign up students for each event, design college T-shirts and promote enthusiasm.
“This past week we’ve been working hard … going around and talking to everyone, doing out best to make sure that every knows that the Olympics are happening,” said Dan Turner-Evans ’08, one of the captains for Calhoun.
Turner-Evans added that he thought the wider-range of events would help the captains in their campaign to recruit freshmen.
“The range of the events are great, and everyone can and should participate,” he said.
The FCC has been able to devote the entire semester to working on the Freshman Olympics, because the Olympics are the only large-scale freshman event that takes place during spring semester, Fishel said.
“During the winter months, it’s not as easy to have big events on Old Campus,” he said. “When it came time that we could do something like that, we wanted to do it on a grand scale.”