Hurst Day #5 commences with pipes and drums at dawn

Monday, September 16, 2019

hurst dayScavenger hunt, inflatables, food festival, photo booth, music and more

At dawn this morning, the sounds of pipes and drums could be heard across the Mercyhurst University campus, reverberating up and down the green, as President Michael Victor and his entourage signaled the wake-up call for Hurst Day #5. 

As is the custom, classes were canceled for the day and students, faculty and staff were invited to enjoy a day of outdoor activities.

Victor launched the Hurst Day tradition in 2015, his first year as president, calling it a grand-scale celebration of student life. 

“A celebration like Hurst Day, which is a campus-wide event, is the kind of social glue that fosters community and inclusiveness on a college campus, and so I am very excited to begin this new tradition at Mercyhurst,” Victor said at the time.

Some aspects of the tradition remain constant: the secrecy surrounding the date of the event, the raising of the Hurst Day flag at dawn, the pipes and drums wake-up procession, and the scavenger hunt that pits teams of costumed students in a race to the finish. This year there are 107 teams of four for a total of 428 participants - one of the largest groups ever, according to Hurst Day Committee member Lindsay Frank. 

The top three finishers participate in the VICTORy Round, where President Victor quizzes the semifinalists on Mercyhurst history until one winning team remains. The members of the first-place team will each receive an Apple iPad; second place, Apple AirPods; and third place, the Echo Dot.

Throughout the day, students enjoy playing on more than 20 inflatables and games positioned across campus. You never quite know from one year to the next what the amusements will be. Among this year’s offerings are Bumper Cars, a Mechanical Bull, Ninja Obstacle Course, UFO Laser Tag, Sports Bungee Run, Skee Ball, and Basketball Toss. There’s also a caricature artist, ice cream and candy stations, photo booths and a DJ.

It wouldn’t be Hurst Day without a food festival catered by Parkhurst Dining. This year’s theme is “Board Games” with offerings like Burger Sliders and Curly Fries for “Pop the Pig,” Saucy BBQ Ribs and Adams Apple Punch for “Operation,” and Peri Peri African Chicken & Rice with Jungle Juice for “Jumanji.”

The North East campus is hosting some of its own Hurst Day events this year, including the scavenger hunt. Bus transportation to and from the main campus is available so students can enjoy food and games at Erie.  

The annual celebration takes considerable planning by the Hurst Day Committee, which includes President Victor, Betsy Frank, Lindsay Frank, Sarah Allen, Dionne Veitch, Jeremy Hewitt, Courtney Olevnik, Megan McKenna, DJ Fuhrmann, Michelle Simpson, Thomas Fabrizio, Katie Boyd and Jacqueline Dietrick.