Scare Fair Brings Students to Library’s Hallowed Halls

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

Yesterday afternoon the 2013 Scare Fair was held in Rush Rhees Library, attracting dozens of students to the Library’s hallowed stacks, some for the first time.

Named one of the top 10 most epic college Halloween celebrations by HerCampus, the Scare Fair is an annual event held to encourage students to enter and use the stacks. Art Librarian Stephanie Frontz said when the event originated many years ago, the current librarians heard that students were scared to go into the stacks. Part of the day’s event was a scavenger hunt that requires students to enter many of University of Rochester’s nine libraries on campus. Students were rewarded with new knowledge, candy, and a stunning view from the top of the Rush Rhees tower.

For the first time in Scare Fair history, the elevator original to the building of the Library in 1930 broke down halfway through the event. Clearly there was a ghost at work, trying to prevent students from seeing the best view on campus! Students who missed the opportunity to take the Tower Tours yesterday had their name and email taken for a rain check on the event.

Other events included performances by Sihir Bellydance, Genesee Story Tellers, Hon Korean Percussion, Mariachi Meliora, and D’Motions.  There was a great turnout for the costumes contest with students, faculty, and children alike. A fourteenth century fool flipped around host Dean Paul Burgett, while another student dropped to the floor after being killed by her inorganic chemistry exam. Luckily the Plague Doctor, Sanjay Dharawat ’14, was there to save lives! But only saving 40 or 60%, the percentage saved is left to your imagination.

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Computer Science And … Halloween?

By Dan Wang
Univ. Communications

This October, students in a computer science class were given an unlikely task: to construct a spear out of only naturally occurring materials that would be vigorous enough to repel a tiger attack. To test the effectiveness of their spears, they demonstrated on pumpkins, first decorating them and then setting them up to be stabbed.  A successful spear would go through an entire pumpkin, out the other side, and into an arrow target.

For students in CSC 199: Creative Computing, stabbing a pumpkin is actually a natural next step, as the class has many offbeat assignments. Past projects have included estimating the cost of building a mile-high skyscraper in lower Manhattan, figuring out the total distance traveled by a red blood cell throughout its lifetime, and approximating the amount of time it would take for the atmosphere to become unbreathable if the process of photosynthesis ceased.

Senior Alex Silverman wrapped a sharp piece of stone with vines to create a spear point, and mounted it on a large stick. His thrust managed to penetrate the skin of the pumpkin. “This is the first computer science class in which I’ve had to stab a pumpkin with a spear,” he remarked. “It’s harder than it looks.”

What is this assignment trying to teach? “It’s partly about Halloween, and partly about illustrating the importance of cultural infrastructure even at the Paleolithic level,” Professor Randal Nelson explained. “Few people appreciate how hard it is to get by without tools.”

After the failure of most spears to go through the entire pumpkin, a consensus emerged in the class: It’s really difficult to survive in Paleo-era.

In the Photo: Alex Feiszli ’14 tests his homemade spear.