This year, the second annual Hurst Day was held on September 12, 2016. Hurst Day is a newly-introduced tradition of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA that was brought on by the 12th President of the university, Michael T. Victor. President Victor had a vision of how he would transform Mercyhurst into a better place and Hurst Day is one of the ways that he has done so. Hurst Day is a day when a higher education institution is able to have fun and relax for one day out of the stressful semester. Here are a few reasons why you should be jealous your school doesn’t have a day like Hurst Day.
1. The Anticipation
Everyone knows that Hurst Day is going to happen, but no one except a very small group who is in charge of planning the event know the actual day that the event is going to occur. Students speculate which day they think it is going to be, but never actually know until the email blast is received on the morning of Hurst Day. They hope for it to be on a day where they have a big presentation or test, or on a Monday like this year so that they get a long weekend. Promo videos for the day start circulating months in advance of the actual event. Students are encouraged to put together teams and themes for the scavenger hunt around campus. Personally, I had been looking forward to Hurst Day 2016 since the day after Hurst Day 2015.
2. No Class
Freshmen on campus are woken up to the sound of bagpipes parading around campus. Normally, the bagpipes signal the start of a wedding or a ceremony or a festival, but they also are one of the key aspects of Hurst Day. Most people would hate to be woken up to the sound of bagpipes, but Mercyhurst students don’t mind it because it can only mean one thing, Hurst Day! All college students long for the day when all classes are cancelled. And it’s even better when it’s not due to an extreme weather or a catastrophic event. The only responsibilities of the day are to have fun.
3. Scavenger Hunt (With Prizes)
The first big event of the day is the scavenger hunt. Students have to submit a team of 4 before a certain deadline with a team name and a list of members of the team. Students go all out to come up with creative team names and costumes, and keep them a secret until the day of the event. At 10:00am President Victor sends the teams off with the first clue. This year there were over 120 teams and the quickest 25 teams made it into the second round of the hunt. The first round consisted of 12 clues and riddles, each of which would lead to another spot on campus. It tested the teams’ knowledge of the university and its campus as well as the speed of the runners on the team. In the second round, each team was given a selfie stick and a list of places and people on campus that they had to get a selfie of all 4 team members with. The fastest 3 teams who did this then advanced to the final round of Jeopardy. The first place team received go pros, the second place team received FitBits and the third place team received book store gift cards. One of the best parts of the scavenger hunt is the costumes. When else can you wear fanny packs and bucket hats around campus and not be extremely judged? Many creative teams deserved recognition this year but the team that took home the best costume was Harambe and the Zookeepers (RIP).
4. Food, Food, and More Food
A variety of lunch options were available, from cowboy burgers and homemade BBQ chips to clams, potatoes and corn on the cob, to Philly cheesesteaks, to ice cream, to pounds and pounds of candy. There was something for everyone to enjoy and endless amounts of it. And it’s all free!
5. School Spirit
Hurst Day is an event that brings lots of school spirit to campus. Everyone comes out to have fun together and enjoy the day. Luke the Laker pumps everyone up throughout the day and Laker Pride is at an all time high.
6. Inflatables, Zipline, Rockwall, and Trampolines
When most people think of inflatables they think of bouncy houses for little kids birthday parties. But Hurst Day brings inflatables most people never knew existed. From hungry hungry hippos to jousting to a giant obstacle course to a wrecking ball room to a slide, there is something for everyone. And there is even everyone's favorite, the mechanical bull. Along with inflatables, there is a zipline that is brought into campus for the day. There is a rock wall that finds a home in the center of campus, and trampolines that allow for crazy jumping and flipping.
Hurst Day is a day that brings the campus together, allows Mercyhurst students to bring out the inner child in them, and creates lifelong memories. And everyone gets a free tshirt to wear around and remember the day.