In an elaborate exercise of college spirit, frosh week at New College this year was themed as a murder mystery, climaxing in the revelation of a new mascot.
Since the incoming class arrived on Labour Day, there has been one question on everyone’s mind: GNU done it?
The story, played out over the course of orientation week, saw current mascot Goliath III kidnapped and murdered by one of seven suspects. The college’s new mascot, Goliath IV, enlisted the help of the New College community to solve the murder of his predecessor.
The late Goliath III had represented New College for the past decade.
With around 770 new students split into 30 groups, the challenges of superimposing a narrative on a huge student body were clear from the beginning.
Frosh were given a suspect list and alibis, along with a stream of newscast-style videos that provided clues for the investigation. On the list of “suspects” were members of the New College community including the student council president, principal, librarian, and writing coach.
All the suspects, according to New College orientation co-chair Laurel Chester, will prove to be useful resources for students in the future.
“We made it so that the murder mystery theme works on all levels,” explained executive leader Craig Maniscalco. “The clues and information can pertain to all of the frosh students; the very keen ones can try solving the mystery in depth, while others who are not as interested can still be aware of what is going on.”
Frosh students were not the only ones trying to solve the mystery; except for a handful of executives, team leaders, troopers, organizers, and frosh were all kept in the dark about the outcome.
In fact, according to Chester, a choice between three potential endings was not made until the day before the announcement. By the end of the week, the culprit had been revealed as Jeff Newman, the librarian. Newman and his co-conspirator, Debra Knott, had kidnapped Goliath III. When the mascot escaped, Newman murdered him and attempted to pin the blame on Knott and New College principal Yves Roberge.
“It’s cool how the leaders don’t know what’s going on either,” said Julian Dyer, leader of the “Inspector Gnueseau” group. “That way, we are part of the process as well and the more we’re into it, the more likely the frosh students will be as well.”
“So far, its only day two and I’ve already had such a great time. I’ve met so many friendly students and have really enjoyed the murder mystery theme of the orientation,” said Shameer Rahman, a first year political science student.
The orientation team spent most of the summer planning, and the week’s programming has hewed closely to the theme, says Maniscalco. Orientation leaders wanted to create a narrative that was plausible, and created a novella-length body of storyline in advance.
As frosh students clad in bright yellow shirts flooded the courtyard and examined the crime scene of the murdered mascot, it seemed that the team’s careful planning had paid off.
“Everything was very well put together and planned out,” said Max Liu, first year social science student. “I’ve definitely become more familiar with my surroundings and have met a lot of great people along the way.”