Playing off the college's tagline, "Fear the Turtle," and referencing the school's sports teams, dubbed the Terrapins, Red Tettemer hid 569 ceramic turtles, a mere three inches in size, in the middle of the night.
Using an agency-coded blueprint of the campus, turtles were hidden outdoors, in classrooms and buildings. Who doesn't love a good scavenger hunt?
The game was teased on-campus using chalk-stencils, posters and stickers of turtles and the web address http://feartheturtle09.com. The college also took to its official Facebook page to further spread the word.
The microsite features a campus map with green squares depicting the location of as-yet located turtles. Red boxes signify turtles that have been found and claimed by students.
Once a turtle is found, students flip it over to find an attached code that unlocks a prize for its owner. Prizes range from ice cream cones, gift cards to Starbucks and Applebee's, T-shirts, tote bags and iPods.
Currently, 486 turtles have been found and 84 remain hidden. There's a limit of 10 turtles/prizes to be collected per student, which isn't bad -- unless you're lactose-intolerant and you win 10 free ice cream cones. But what are the odds?
Once most of the turtles are found, additional clues will surface to help lead players to the golden turtle. This grand prize stands to be more difficult to find than other turtles, and the agency and university won't reveal what the prize is. Yes, I'm intrigued, and I'm sure students are revved up, too.
The university hopes to make this scavenger hunt into an ongoing tradidion and will use the microsite to house content once the game concludes.
So why advertise to students already enrolled in the university rather than reach out to potential students? To boost school spirit and campus pride -- and maybe some late-night trips around campus, armed with flashlights and turtle maps.