‘LopeVenture’ gives students the ultimate to-do list
Story by Mark Heller
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Long before noon during this 12-hour adventure, participants were already tired.
The inaugural LopeVenture pushed more than 100 Grand Canyon University students within 22 teams to attempt bizarre challenges, bonding and teamwork. The groups (3-5 students of their choosing per team) covered GCU’s campus, the Valley and the rest of Arizona on Saturday as they attempted to check off a wild and random “to do” list of more than 220 challenges in an effort to earn points for prizes.
“Team Illyria” T-shirts were made by one group of five members, the name a tribute to the school portrayed in the “She’s the Man” movie. By mid-morning, they’d hugged a stranger, dropped a grape in one member’s mouth from two stories above and chugged a six-shot espresso coffee, which was “quite disgusting,” according to one participant. The group planned to limit their long-distance traversing to the east Valley and central Phoenix.
A few minutes later, “Team Washington” — native state to a group of four students — headed south through campus in an attempt to find a car to use for some of the non-campus challenges. They’d already given a random flower to a stranger, danced with some GCU employees, picked up recycling and managed to fit three of them onto a bicycle long enough for the photo opp. Jumping into a pool with all of their clothes on was on the “to do” list along with swimming with a goldfish (possibly the cracker).
Not to be outdone in the early stages of LopeVenture, “Basic Lopes,” a group of four roommates, already had checked off 15 of the 220+ challenges by 11 a.m., including arm-wrestling a Panda Express employee and asking strangers for food.
Up next: Figure out how to pet a tiger.
“It’s been fun, but I don’t know who came up with this list or one of this size,” said one team member.
The “who” behind this epic event was GCU outdoor recreation coordinator Chad Schlundt, as a quest to offer students “more than just GCU but Phoenix and even Arizona.” This hybrid was inspired by the “Amazing Race” and “Questival,” but athleticism was hardly a prerequisite to compete.
“We’re trying to cater to everyone, so if you don’t have a car, if you’re not a Phoenix or Arizona native, or you have zero athletic ability, you still have the opportunity to participate and do very well,” Schlundt said.
To wit, the 220 challenges spanned 10 categories:
- Social Media
That meant 20-25 challenges per category to choose from, and teams performed whichever they chose. Each challenge was worth between 1-10 points based on degree of difficulty and ease of accessibility (or lack thereof).
The challenges ranged geographically from the GCU campus all the way south to Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, north to the Mogollon Rim, and any part(s) of the Valley in between:
- Snap a photo and do a secret handshake with GCU’s Dean of Students, Pastor Tim Griffin
- Yodel in a mall
- Hike to the summit of Piestewa Peak
- Eat three ounces of cat food
- Milk a cow
- Volunteer at the Phoenix Rescue Mission
- Make a hammock
- Visit Tonto Bridge State Park
- Get matching haircuts for the entire team
Each group was given a multi-page list of the available challenges when they checked in around sunrise on Saturday morning. For the next 12 hours, all group members had to be present when each challenge was completed. A photo or video with an Arizona state flag replica (given to every team at check-in) had to be sent to Schlundt’s team via Groupmeet app for authentication purposes (so no “divide and conquer” strategy allowed).
The contest ended at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the winners by a narrow margin were Aaron Canepa, Drew Schwab, Kailey Arnone and Taylor White. Winners received prizes such as a GoPro, Fitbit, “Beats” headphones and gift cards, all donated by a local Walmart.
“The goal is for local and non-local students to learn about campus, Phoenix, Arizona and each other,” Schlundt said. “See the beauty of Arizona, build community and start the school year on a high note.”
● Here’s a list of the top finishers:
|Aaron Canepa, Drew Schwab, Kailey Arnone, Taylor White team extraordinaire||93||324|
|The Elite Eight||22||80|
|Out of State Lopes||29||79|
|Change Name 2.||8||40|
Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org