One event, five faculties, one united team – SLAMM’21. The Rotaract Family of the University of Colombo joined hands together to embrace the excitement of planning, organizing, and successfully executing the perfect treasure hunt of the year. Let’s have a heartfelt recalling down that exciting memory lane! It was early May 2021 when the preparations officially began. One fine day, I was contacted to join help with the PR work for an event – SLAMM. The sudden thought that crossed my mind was ‘Oh, okay, another treasure hunt event’. But coming to think of that now, little did we know about SLAMM then, and little did we expect being a part of this collaboration. It was amazing!
On the following day, the Faculty of Science team along with myself were all added to the PR organizational group along with our own team from the Faculty of Medicine. This was a fantastic opportunity to know each other and hence we started the SLAMM PR work from square one. As the days went by, preparations extended from text group discussions to numerous zoom sessions every day. The plot discussions were brimming with so many ideas of a novel variety, that the coordinators themselves were lost at choosing one out of all. Everything added sounded so great! While one added an idea, just the next instant there was another, followed by many others. As this happened on one end, another end was equally thrilling, bringing out exquisite creativity onto the table with the most wonderful comic which was applauded by all! On another end, myself and the team compiled editorial captions for the posts while our tech guys were busy preparing the most creative posts and videos giving it their fullest! This enthusiasm escalated the entire process making the work behind the curtains, super exciting!
As preparations continued, on the 17th of May, we officially opened registration for the most exciting treasure hunt of the year- SLAMM’21. The team from the Faculty of Management did an amazing job handling the registrations of the event. A registration link was shared among the five clubs and 20 members were requested essentially from each faculty club as each team needed a member from each faculty to make their way through the escape run. They also acquired a financial sponsorship of 10000LKR from Icon Business School for the hosting of this splendid event. Simultaneously, the Faculty of Law team handled the exclusive task of sending out the VIP invites to the District Steering Committee and Outgoing Executive Committee of the Five RACs of the University of Colombo.
Eventually, as the plans worked out, some fantastic games unfolded their way on the table of SLAMM. The theme was a zombie apocalypse and the teams were to make their way through the games to complete the escape mission to finally travel to a safer place away from earth. The faculty teams brought out their unique gaming strategies to be embedded in the hunt. The faculty of Science brought out two exciting games to the platform. Just as exciting they were, the Faculty of Law brought out the next two games in the journey. The Faculty of Arts brought in their unique collaboration of four games on the run next and then there were the two intriguing games presented by the Faculty of Management, that extended the platform. Last but not least, the team from the Faculty of Medicine brought out two final thrilling games into SLAMM. All in all, the team brought up 12 marvelous games into the SLAMM arena. The team worked all their ways, bringing in further ideas and improvements to make each and every one of them unique in their own way and to make the entire escape run super exciting! This will lead to the final escape!
As the games were being perfected by the teams, the registrations were filling up in the days and the team worked their plans of coordinating the run abruptly to avoid any issues from arising. All 5 faculty teams constructively analyzed the methods to sync the entire process together perfectly. 20 coordinators were appointed from the five faculties to handle the teams. We, the coordinators had to create separate WhatsApp groups once the teams were given, and also five separate WhatsApp groups were created for the five faculties for the scoring process which included their respective president, secretary, and their respective scoring coordinator.
As the day got closer, I was getting excited myself. It was so much of talking and working and writing off on my part as an editor. It was reaching the busiest and most stressful part of the project. Now, the team had discussed all essentials and it was time for the trial run as pre-planned.
On the 27th of May at 7 pm, we carried out our first trial run. Well, talking and getting the process ready was easy, the hardest part was to synchronizing the entire event in real-time. There were lots of issues we didn’t know that existed until then. Timeout and delays, connection issues, and communication problems just to add a few. At one point everyone was nervous it was wrecked, but as a team, we worked out hours to get on track and went for the second test run the next morning at 8 am. It was far better now. We thoroughly ran through the process clarifying the doubts while all of us got together to make it a smooth run.
At 10am on the 28th of May, the registrations were officially closed. 120 registrations were up and Management Faculty team made their way to create 19 equally distributed teams for the run. Now the excitement was starting.
The teams were assigned to the coordinators and separate WhatsApp groups were created by 12 noon on the 28th. The run was scheduled for the 29th of May at 3 pm. It all started the day before with an ice breaker session. After the groups were created, by 1 pm on the 28th the Ice Breaker Session commenced. This included the team members from the five faculties acquainting themselves as a team and getting to know the basic procedural plan of the event along with the coordinator. The team was tasked with creating a travel ticket with their superhero figurine images and also with selecting a fantastic team name. The ticket format was sent to the teams via their coordinator and they had to edit their photos and upload them on their Instagram stories. Indeed, I had a fun time getting them to talk and accelerating the process!
It was today, 29th of May. The day had finally dawned and I could feel myself intrigued as I awaited the hours prepping with the team.
The clock ultimately struck 3 pm and it all started. So, now comes that adrenaline rush. All are active on the WhatsApp groups and are logged on the zoom session which will be the visual platform. The time is ticking and the teams are kicking their way through the games one by one. So my team goes through the first game easily. The five quickly solve the puzzles in amateur excitement and proceeds to guess the song. I recall how I was muddled up with all different song names flooding for the tunes. They try several times. I’m enjoying this myself. So suggestions keep flowing from the five, Suraj Hua Maddam goes interpreted as Korean, fake lyrics making up new songs, singing the correct lyrics but the title Somebody that I used to know doesn’t come easy. I’d assure you, it was some super exciting 15 minutes! Then they escape into the Faculty of Law. Now I can feel the team is super curious. The audio snippet track of cartoon character dialogues starts playing. Now starts the team cartoon expert reviews:
“That’s Garfield! yes, that’s “Dostara Honda Hitha” I am sure another says, And there it is “Seedevi!” It is “Soora Pappa”, but what is the character? There goes “Shaggy”!”
So many comments, rights, and wrongs and they agree eventually to come up with the best solutions and submits them to me. I am hyper-excited getting in the adrenaline rush here. They never knew what was ahead. Here they start with the UOC Culture quiz. Participants from different years mean, the new pandemic year undergraduates definitely saw very little of the physical architecture of the university themselves. Professor Rosa’s Exclusive “Kaju Ata Kos Ata Waniya” took me back in my memory lane. They were confused but still guessed right and wrong to escape the library.
They slowly made their way through to the exclusive departments of the Faculty of Arts: History, English, Geography, and Political Science. The puzzles and quizzes kept them thinking and rethinking a lot they already knew, indeed, most of them who came up with ‘Pronounciation’ got to know it was ‘Pronunciation’ after all. The guess the politician with their eyes ended up being one of the funniest segments in the arena! Missing the rebellious Fidel Castro and the sweet prime minister from New Zealand, Jacinda Arden was surprising. So many wiggles and waggles as the quizzes really quizzed everyone amidst the run! And then they succeeded. As they unlocked the exit and made their way, I could see myself trying my best to keep up with the zoom session live on the laptop and the WhatsApp groups on my mobile. It was about coordinating in the exact track of time.
Now they escape to the Faculty of Management and are making way through their crossword. Lots of questions and comments. Answers pop up but the letters don’t fit in. It’s either too long or too short and then they figure it out after some clarifications. They follow up and the next turn out quite different. It’s the three-route game. They reach out to the Instagram bios and try making their wayfinding the hidden objects. It is filled with identifying and occasional misses. They take a breath and then again times precious one reminds. Yes, guys, the clock is ticking! One moment they are routing and the next moment they are out, completed. The image below reveals them the letter ‘W’.
Here they are now super excited as I announce the final stage of the event ‘Welcome to the Faculty of Medicine where the dead taught the living long before this dystopian reality.’ They make their way through game 1 configuring out the organs one by one until all the 15 are done. The key is obtained and now the final stage is attained. Two minutes and the two letters and thus ends the hunt! There ends the Treasure Hunt- SLAMM ’21 officially.
The more than awaited excitement is the announcement of the winners. The teams relax as our organizing groups actively worked their ways through the scoring groups to figure out the winning groups who are qualified for the great escape from the zombie apocalypse! The hearts kept beating for the great revelation. And finally, the awaited leaderboards were out with the top five teams and team “පැණි Hunters” on the lead. They scored 464 points and secured their safe ride being the official winners of SLAMM’21. The leaderboard was followed by Mentally Disturbed Llamas, Death Eaters, OLD BEEZZZ, and Masked Hunters. The winners also received a cash prize in rewards.
Congratulations to the winners! Hope you all had a safe journey!
Indeed, it was a novel experience for all of us. As the organizing team, we had a great time getting to know each other and making all the preparations for this grand event from square one. We had this amazing chemistry of teamwork and friendship with each other to successfully bring out the most awaited virtual event in SLAMM history!
It was a thrilling experience for all of us, it being the first joint project done by the presidents and secretaries elected in the current Rotaract Year. These memories will always be long-lasting treasures we cherish in our journeys ahead.
Hoping for many more amazing projects with y’all in the future! Here I am Rtr. Thiruni Withana signing off!
Kudos to everyone who collaborated for the successful closure of SLAMM’21! Stay Safe!
By Rtr. Thiruni Withana