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Campus scavenger hunt promotes diversity

Students are treated to dinner and a movie the night before the OMazing Race.

Students are treated to dinner and a movie the night before the OMazing Race.

Fifty Ole Miss students took part in the fourth annual OMazing Race held on the Oxford campus March 23 and 24. The OMazing Race was coordinated through the Department of Campus Programming and William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. The event began in 2006, loosely based on the hit CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.” It is designed to place students intentionally in an environment where they spend time with other students from various backgrounds who may have perspectives and opinions that differ from their own. A selection committee chose the teams from dozens of applications.

On March 23, students gathered for a dinner in Johnson Commons Ballroom and watched the PBS documentary “Not in Our Town,” which featured the university. Following dinner, the students engaged in a cultural mapping activity as well as story circles in which the students spoke of times in their lives when they took a stand. Several university faculty, staff and administrators served as moderators for the event.

On March 24, the participants competed in a campuswide scavenger hunt while vying for a $1,000 grand prize as well as personalized bricks on the Walk of Champions in the Grove. The winning team included JJ Townsend of Long Beach, Tyler Jackson of Tupelo, Alessandra D’Orazio of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Emily Chew of Memphis, Tenn.

“The event is special in that it brings people together who would not normally hang out with each other,” said Bradley Baker, interim director of Campus Programming. “I think the highlight of the event is watching the teams grow closer together in a very short amount of time. Of course, the excitement and drive builds on Saturday during the scavenger hunt, as teams let their competitive nature emerge for a fast-paced race to the prize of $1,000.”

The event was sponsored by the Ole Miss Parents Association, Department of Campus Programming, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Ole Miss Alumni Association and Papa John’s Pizza.

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