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SFUO adds new event, decreases prize budget

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) plans an annual series of free wintry events aptly named the Winter Challenge, but this year organizers have implemented new changes and surprises to switch up the experience.

Pat Marquis says while the Winter Challenge will not change much in structure, there will be the addition of an Amazing Race on the last day of the Challenge. Teams will race through the campus searching for clues and completing challenges and riddles as fast as they can to achieve the best time.

There has also been a major change in the number of prizes available this year. The SFUO consistently went over budget in the past and this year decided it wasn’t cost effective to award nearly every team a prize, as they did previously.

“Although students might be disappointed their team in 35th place didn’t get a prize, I think they appreciate that we are saving student money,” Marquis says.

Now there are eight teams that will win prizes: the top five timed and scored teams and the top three spirit teams. Marquis estimates the prizes’ value between $15,000–16,000.

The SFUO invites 100 teams of four to participate in 5- to 10-minute daily challenges from Jan. 13–18, testing them both physically and mentally.

“The first couple of weeks back from the winter break can be stressful for some,” says Pat Marquis, SFUO vp social and organizer of the event. “So this offers a great relief and a memorable experience.”

Teams will be scored both for fulfilling challenge criteria and the speed at which each activity is completed. The activities are meant to provide an element of play in the student experience and encourage people to spend more time outside of the library. However, with the unpredictable temperatures and weather conditions of Ottawa winters, events will be held both inside and outside.

“It’s a really fun time that you can spend with three great friends or even three new people,” says Marquis. “The games and activities that go on throughout the week really bring your team close together and it’s a great bonding experience.”