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Halloween party gives QUEST students a break from the rigor - more events to come

By Erin Borg
On October 25, 2010

Pumpkins, candy corn, and relay races are not usually part of the multidisciplinary, reality-based learning experiences that QUEST staff members organize. But QUEST students are in charge of planning the program's community events and have integrated them into the program's groundwork.

QUEST, Smith's Honors Fellows program that focuses on innovation, teamwork and co-curricular programming, had its annual Halloween party Tuesday night on the Van Munching Courtyard.

It featured a pumpkin-carving contest, whipped cream, candy, caramel apples and "a lot of fun," said senior information systems and accounting major Mitch Kochman.

Along with senior fire protection engineering major Ryan Ganser, Kochman is co-president of the QUEST Student Organization (QSO). QSO's main function is arranging community events which allow members to interact and bond in a non-learning environment throughout the school year.

"[The community events] give us all a chance to get to know each other and network," said junior accounting and finance major Lauren Bailey. "It's a nice change of pace."

Events planned for this year include a barbecue, a Valentine's Day party and a scavenger hunt, which members said is a good way for students to work in groups and in settings they're not familiar with.

"We also have bowling coming up in the Terp Zone and we reserved tickets for a group of us to go see the [men's] basketball team play Wake Forest," Ganser said. "And we have bingo day."

QUEST students are required to attend one community event a year, yet many go to more. The Halloween Party hosted 35 people, the maximum number allowed to sign up.

QSO spent $80 on candy and bought eight pumpkins for the event. Program members also tended to a portable stove to melt the caramel for the candy apples.

"We try to make these things a fun experience," said Kochman.

QSO members said the community events help balance QUEST's rigorous curriculum, and make the program more enjoyable. Sophomore operations and marketing major Rebecca Brown is in her first year as a QUEST member and said she has been very satisfied with the program so far.

"The projects are challenging, but I'm having fun in the process," Brown said. "Overall, it's been a great experience."

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