Husky Hunt: Northeastern does scavenger hunts right

husky hunt

One of the biggest events at Northeastern every year is a little game known as Husky Hunt. Husky Hunt is, in short, a scavenger hunt. It’s been going on for a few years now (I think the first one was… 2005? 2006?) and is hosted by NU’s Resident Student Association.

Husky Hunt has escalated in popularity in recent years. I believe that, this year, somewhere around 120 teams or so registered to participate. (Don’t quote me on that! I heard it down the grapevine.)

That may sound strange to you. I mean, why do so many college kids want to do a scavenger hunt so badly? What makes it so great?

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Husky Hunt may be a scavenger hunt, but it’s a scavenger hunt taken to epic proportions. First, Husky Hunt takes place over a course of 24 hours. No breaks. That’s 24 hours that participants have to stay awake. And, in the case of many kids (like me) we also have class, work, and the like before the hunt begins, forcing us to stay up even longer.

Second, Husky Hunt isn’t restricted to just Northeastern’s campus. Nope, Husky Hunt takes place all over Boston. And even more: clues are also in Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, Quincy… hell, there have been clues in Rhode Island before.

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I should mention that cars aren’t allowed. No, hunters must make do without the use of motorized vehicles. (Public transportation is okay, though. Taxis are not.)

Finally, the prizes for winning Husky Hunt are crazy. One year, all the members of the winning team received Kindle Fires. Another year, they all got round-trip plane tickets to anywhere in the US. This is serious business.

Husky Hunt is simply one of those things you have to do before graduating. Even if you lose– and Husky Hunt is super competitive– it’s all about the experience.

I had to do it.

Not that it’s easy to become a participant, either. First, you have to set up a team of exactly 12 members. Then, you have to get your team qualified. I said earlier that around 120 teams signed up. Only 50 actually get to hunt. How does RSA decide who’s in and who’s out?

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In order to weed out the less serious teams, RSA releases a quiz to every team captain. The team must finish the quiz within a day. The quiz is only a dozen questions or so– but they are the most insane of questions. 

Like, not even brain benders. Just impossible riddles with the most ambiguous of hints that you really have to get lucky to solve.

I can’t even provide an example.

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If the team manages to pass that, they are then able to participate in Husky Hunt. Husky Hunt took place from 7PM, November 2nd (a Friday) to 7PM the next day.

As you can guess (because I’m writing about it now) I was on one of the qualifying teams.

Now, while Husky Hunt is a serious undertaking, a lot of people just do it for fun. As a result, Husky Hunt teams can be divided into a few different categories:

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I was, surprisingly enough, on a serious team. My team was comprised of mostly seniors, seniors who had done the Hunt before. Last year, their team had placed 5th out of 50 teams. This year was their last shot, so they were here to win.

And so was I. My roommates had put together their own team, and it was only natural that I had to beat them.

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That Friday, the hunt began.

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Each team received a set of hints– a set that numbered over 600 clues. 600. Most of these clues were locations in and around Boston. Teams were supposed to find these locations and take photos at them. The photos are then submitted to RSA before the end of the hunt on a USB drive.

That wasn’t the only thing going on, though. RSA also ran a constant stream of on-campus challenges. Races. Puzzles. Games. At each challenge, only a limited number of people could participate. Teams would receive text alerts throughout the 24 hours, leading to this every time a new one arrived.

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There were even Twitter challenges, Youtube challenges, challenges demanding that you bake RSA a cake, or buy them Pokemon cards, or…

My team didn’t do any of that.

We had our reasons. I mean, the on-campus challenges are fun, but competitive. I was on a team full of engineers and gamers and science-y kids. We were up against track stars and hockey players and general jocks.

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Instead, we focused on the clues. The locations. What we lacked in athleticism, we would make up in intellect. Or with this insane phone app one of our members developed:

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That member flew in from across the country to participate in Husky Hunt. That’s true devotion.

At any rate, our team split up into groups in order to cover more ground. I was put into the “fast” group– aka the team that covered the most distant clues. I’m no athlete, but I had confidence. I could bike. I could survive this 24 hours.

Since I’m living and breathing and writing this post now, I obviously survived.

But only barely.

That night, I saw more of Boston than I have… ever. We biked everywhere. From Northeastern to the North End to Science Park to Cambridge, circling around for miles, looking for clues. Take a look! (Photo has been edited to reflect emotional state at the time: )

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Accordingly, I learned a little bit more about Boston and our nation’s history.

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I also learned that everywhere can be biked to. EVERYWHERE! 

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I learned the limits of my (lacking) physical prowess. At a certain point of the hunt (probably around 4 AM or so) I definitely started to feel the effects of sleep deprivation, freezing temperatures, and physical exhaustion.

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The fact that we were biking around Charlestown at 4AM, when it was completely quiet and deserted and eerie, didn’t help.

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By the time daylight arrived again, my team barely spoke to each other. No small talk was exchanged as we biked. We only spoke when it was completely necessary.

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Which was just as well. By the end, everything seemed surreal. Like I was dreaming. It was probably a bad sign.

In total, I think I was actually biking around 9 hours or so. Which actually isn’t too bad– I have friends who were up and about for the full 24 hours. My team had some time to take breaks– as we did in the Northeastern library.

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A couple of hours before the 7PM Saturday deadline, we crunched through all of our photos, put ‘em together on a flash drive, and rushed to NU to hand them in to RSA. As a congratulations for completing the hunt, RSA gave out free ice cream.

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And that was that. Husky Hunt 2012 was over. I returned home and proceeded to sleep for 13 hours.

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But who won?

RSA took their time grading each team’s submission, or maybe they didn’t– they had a lot of clues to look through, after all. Either way, we didn’t find out the results until a month later. They announced the results on a boat.

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Yeah. Like an actual boat.

All Husky Hunt volunteers and participants are invited to a cruise each year after the hunt is over. There’s a bar (for 21+ only, of course) a dance floor, a DJ, some food…

While not everyone was enthusiastic about being in the emotionally taxing Husky Hunt, the cruise everyone could enjoy. Including myself, as I went.

The cruise ran from 12AM to 3AM, since RSA really enjoys not letting people sleep. At the end, they announced the results, starting from last place and going up to first place.

I was nervous. My team had worked hard. I play to win. I wanted to win.

They got through the bottom 10…

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Then the next 10 teams…

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Then the next…

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And the next…

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And at this point I was freaking out a bit. My team had not been called yet, meaning we were in the top 10. The top 10! I listened in…

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8th! My team had placed in 8th. Not bad. We even got a prize!

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And then Husky Hunt was truly over.

So the question remains: Would I do it again?

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Though my friends won’t agree with me, I had a blast doing Husky Hunt. Even though I was with people I didn’t know, going places I’ve never been, it was simply… an experience. We were cold. We were tired. We were miserable. Don’t get me wrong. But there’s something about Husky Hunt that makes people do it over and over and over again. Is it the sheer scale of the event? The camaraderie? The whole experience? I don’t know, but it’s there.

So, Northeastern kids? Do the hunt. At least once.

Or don’t. Less competition for when I rock ultimate at Husky Hunt next year.

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Can I just talk about Assassin’s Creed III for a moment? I just finished it and now I’m all like

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30 thoughts on “Husky Hunt: Northeastern does scavenger hunts right

            • True! Colleges have all sorts of events that they try not to promote too much. I mean, Husky Hunt is fun, but it also means that 500 college kids wreak havoc in Boston! I know my sister’s school has a huge game of Humans vs. Zombies that is so intense that people skip class, ambush each other at 3 in the morning, and generally cause 2 weeks of controlled chaos around campus.

            • That’s a good point! Haha I can just imagine the whole of Hamilton getting involved in the games .. That would be a nightmare >.< I have 'O Week' in about six weeks so maybe I'll find out about games! :]

            • Hmmm. I do not have any of those games. In fact, the only game I have with me right now is Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, though I am thinking of investing in either HeartGold/SoulSilver to do a Nuzlocke run. Wow, did that sound dorky!
              I have a DS– not even a DS Lite, but the big, original chunky one! What are some good games for the DS? Not that I need to add to my giant list of things to see/watch/do/play, but it’s good to know!
              As for playing my PS3– not sure. Working full-time is surprisingly time-consuming! If I am on, it’ll be in the evening. Pick a day and I can see if I can be online!

            • “O Week?” I’m assuming that means Orientation Week? And that means you’re going to college in 6 weeks? :D That’s awesome! Congratulations! If you don’t mind me asking, what school are you going to? (I am inexplicably super excited for you! Probably because I love college :) )

            • Yep, Orientation Week! :] Everyone calls it ‘O Week’ over here though but thank you! I’m going to Waikato University and I’m doing a Bachelor of Arts because it’s internationally recognized so I can travel with it if I want to :’] Hopefully I’ll love college too! xD

  1. I was on the Ye Olde Orio’s team! We came in 13th, haha, and I see that you have a Laura Fleming on your team! I laughed so hard throughout all of this just because I know what you mean by all of it xD

  2. Husky Hunt sounds so great! Wish I could participate! :D
    Your team sure had quite a ride. The blanket became handy right away for you. :3

    Assassin’s Creed III you say? I haven’t played it my self but if you want talk about by all means. I have seen some people play the first or the second one though and have wondered if I should try it some day when I get PS3. xD

      • I think I will. :) There are a punch of games I want to try with it though. Journey from thatgamecompany, The Last Guardian when it is released, Tales of Xillia probably, Uncharted might be nice to try too, Beyond Good & Evil 2 if it ever comes out, etc. There are too many games…

  3. OH!! YOU FINISHED AC III!!! Nice! I actually, just finished THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD!! It was crazy! Then, I started playing Hero Mode. Still gotta finish AC Revelations before I play 3. Add me on your Playstation account. I’m “TheMastr”. WAIT!! WOW! I can’t believe I only commented on your AC 3 completion. NO!! Great job getting 8th!! I wish I did one of those. I’d be crazy and bananas! And while everyone else would be tired, I’d be jumping around like a true maniac!! WAIT A SECOND!! WHY WOULD YOUR BRAIN BE “CRYING” AT THE END OF AC 3?!? WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END? NOPE DON’T TELL ME!! Yay. Hmmmmmm…. Vy? Should I play Grand Theft Auto 4 or quickly play through AC Revelations and then play AC 3? Can’t decide.

    • Only when I step back and look at previous posts (even if they’re only a day ago), do I realize how random I am and how much I jump around in my comments. An important truth to be learned for personal growth.

    • Hmmm… tough question! I’m actually going to tackle GTA4 next… well, maybe after I play FFXIII-2… AHHH, TOO MANY GAMES NOT ENOUGH TIME! Play GTA4 and tell me how it is! I’ll add you as soon as I figure out how to get my darn TV working!! (It mysteriously won’t turn on!)

      • Actually, I…uh…already…started…………………………………………playing….uuuuhhhhh. I’ve got this problem of starting games and then going to play other games. But, I can now tell my true thoughts. References are made by people who don’t even seriously play video games about “the great Grand Theft Auto 4″ But, what did Rockstar do to make themselves famous. Well, first GTA and GTA 2 came out. Ever heard of them? No? Neither has anyone else. Why? Because they’re “B-rated” games about stealing cars and shooting people. With sex. Can’t forget the sex. I didn’t know who developed them until about 3 seconds ago. DMA Design. Ever heard of them? No? Again, neither has anyone else. Then, at number three Rockstar North took over and did the last seven games. Rockstar became famous at GTA 3, but they changed everything at GTA 4. Why is the game often quoted for being the greatest PS3/360 game? Why is Ocarina of Time the only game that beats it? Sorry, for the slow typing. Just got an iPad for Christmas and I can’t type as fast on it…but then again, you can’t see the speed of my typing, so…. nevermind. It is such a great game because when you play, you cross over into another world. Not a world of fantasy and magic. But, a world of corruption, desperation and crime. With the impressive graphics, it is not a world unlike our own. In fact, in mirrors our world in more ways than people would like to admit. The realistic feel of the game scares people. Not like in GTA 3, where you could pull the trigger and blow away the colorful, human-shaped figures on the screen. No! The game may take place in a fictional city. But, killing someone in that city would make you no less of a murderer.

        • But, seriously, oh…wait. I was already serious, so anyway. There’s stuff like being able to call anyone anytime you want (even the cops), people’s reactions. The accents of the characters are fantastic. Niko Bellic is like the #1 character of the people’s and critic’s choice. You’ll feel bad for hurting anyone, ’cause it’s like reality. Real nice game. Play with y’all when you get your television working. HOORAY!

            • Maybe, it’s just me, but the way you said (typed) “excellent” reminded me of Mr. Burns from Family- I MEAN THE SIMPSONS!! Type in “excellent” in Google Images and it will be the only thing you get.

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