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QUEST CAMP 2009 brings it on again!

Giants Centaurs and Dwarfs

By Kirsten Chen
On August 29, 2009

 This past Thursday and Friday, August 27th and 28th, the QUEST honors program had its annual orientation at Camp Horizons in Virginia. QUEST is a multidisciplinary program that intertwines the minds of business, engineering and computer sciences students, and has a reputation for producing some of the most creative and determined students at the University of Maryland. The core of QUEST lies in its heavy emphasis on team work, which is where orientation comes in.

QUEST orientation, more lovingly termed "Quest Camp," is a two-day series of teamwork and challenges that brings together the students before their first day of class even begins. At Camp, students in the new cohort discover who they will work with throughout the semester in their BMGT190h teams. Not only do they have the opportunity to become more familiar with each other, but they also learn how to work together in a team setting to feel out each other's strengths and weaknesses. Of course, the singing-and-dancing ice breakers, 300 acres of surrounding greenery and nightly Smores help make Quest Camp a success as well.

During Day 1 of orientation, the teams took part in their first team-building challenge. Each team had 35 minutes to brainstorm a pilot product and then sell it to the audience. Oh, and they had to implement a 30 second commercial into the mix. After 35 minutes, the judges sat down to watch informational blurbs on "Sneats- a clever sneaker that can become a cleat," and many other forward-thinking and comical ideas including a car that runs on urine and a refrigerator that serves a double purpose as furniture.

Nicole Coomber, the program manager, had a lot of good things to say about Cohort 17.

Her opinion that "Cohort 17 was both focused and energized… they bring a lot of different strengths to the table and we believe these next 3 years are going to be great," was just a sampling of the optimism present at orientation.

On Day two, the competition really picked up with the "Rafts Ahoy" challenge, where the teams had an hour to create a raft out of 1 cardboard box, 1 garbage bag, and a roll of masking tape. The teams then chose 1 member to attempt to cross the lake and back as fast as possible in the newly crafted raft. Winner of the challenge, Kate Hartinger, AKA ‘Crazy Legs,' said, "we really dominated the competition out there… in building a raft we didn't want to over-complicate things, so we constructed a kickboard and I kicked my little heart away." And kick away she did, Kate pulled in first place for her team easily amongst the competition.

Cincovation, A team that had a bit of trouble actually moving their raft, was complimented by the staff who noted, "they could have floated on that thing all day long." Kyle Zhang, from cincovation had a good attitude when he said, "sometimes things work, sometimes they don't, but it was a great team building experience—we all came together well."

After such an action-packed two days, we can only wonder what more Cohort 17 will add to the Quest community. Keep your eyes peeled this year, you never know if the new contraption you're marveling over, or the event you are attending is another Quest creation!

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