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The Value Of Scavenger Hunts In The Life Of A Freshman

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

FPD2 - First-Year Advising and Transition

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1280.1 - 13.1280.8



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Paper Authors


Craig Gunn Michigan State University

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Craig Gunn is the Director of the Communication Program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University. He integrates communication skill activity into all courses within the mechanical Engineering program. He is editor of the CED Newsbriefs and the MCCE Co-op Courier and has co-authored a textbook - Engineering Your Future.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Value of Scavenger Hunts in the Life of a Freshman Abstract

Students acclimatizing themselves to the university usually find that discovery process to be a self-motivated activity. They wander about finding whatever they happen to be interested in or manage to accidentally encounter. These novices move about the university without anyone providing them any direction in their search. The problem with this method is that it simply becomes an activity that is hit or miss in allowing students to discover what the university really provides in the way of interesting pursuits and helpful means to accomplish one’s final focus for career pursuit. Students reflect that when told to go places and find pertinent information about the location or the people who exist there, they comply with the assignment and in many cases find interests that they never imagined existed. By providing insights into locations on campus to visit and investigate, we can direct students with little force or effort. In order to accomplish both the connection to the university and something that will be retained by the students performing the activity, it has become common practice with our freshmen students to provide them with ample chances to participate in Scavenger Hunts across the College of Engineering and the entire campus. Details of these varied Scavenger Hunts, the benefits of the activities, and student reactions to the assignments will be reported.


Scavenger hunts provide students with a relatively painless way to discover for themselves what makes up a university. They can be carefully directed to specific sites or allowed to investigate areas that they have only heard about and want to delve into with their increased interest. The scavenger hunt gives the student permission to play detective. They also let the student go, unhindered by the previous presence of parents who needed to monitor everything their child did. Coupling scavenger hunts with presentations, website presence, and the connecting qualities of the individual hunts is beneficial to making students feel that they are truly part of the university. When thinking about providing students with scavenger hunt activities, one must consider the overall benefits to the students. If it is simply an activity that is commonly referred to as “busy” work, students may complete the task only to achieve the grade and nothing more. If the work is to be done with longer reaching consequences, then the activity is well worth doing. It is therefore imperative that that rationale for letting students investigate the university be clearly stated to them. The varieties of scavenger hunts required of students at the freshman level have included the following, but are not limited in any way to:

• In building – College of Engineering • On campus – specific • On campus general – as a total project • On campus – as part of a team

In-Building Hunts

When starting with a simple scavenger hunt that requires students to investigate the college of engineering, the rationale is fairly clear. Students should be able to easily get to places within

Gunn, C. (2008, June), The Value Of Scavenger Hunts In The Life Of A Freshman Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4477

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