University halls take up challenge

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Many students at the University of Otago’s Carrington College have been buzzing with the challenge of Survivor-style mind games during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s a challenge, everyone’s excited about it, almost everyone’s getting in to it,” collegiate community leader Oscar Sergel-Stringer, who dreamed up the Carrington challenge, said.

College head Ali Norton said 84 students among the college’s 240 residents had remained on site during the lockdown.

On Monday, 28 of the residents began their own version of the Survivor TV shows, dubbed “Carrington College Survivor”.

They compete in a series of challenges which test their physical strength, balance, puzzle talents, memory and problem-solving skills.

“We wanted to provide the best quality experience for students that have chosen to stay,” Ms Norton said.

The students were enjoying taking part in the fun activities and challenges — and the residents who had gone home were also taking a close interest, through Facebook posts, in the college games, she said.

Carrington students have also begun taking part in a series of other activities, including Jump Jam, Frisbee golf, and giant Jenga, a balancing game usually played with a mini-tower of wooden blocks.

Mr Sergel-Stringer, who is a second-year medical student, said he had long been a fan of the Survivor shows and particularly enjoyed the “mind games” and the strategic manoeuvring and alliance-making that went on behind the scenes.

Participants in the various games have been taking part either individually or in “bubbles” of small groups.

After a series of immunity challenges and tribal councils — including a council meeting held last night — the initial 28 participants would be reduced to 24 by today, he said.

It is understood many of the 14 other Otago University colleges of residence have also been engaged in fun activities during the lockdown.

Caroline Freeman College is doing a colouring-in competition between “bubbles”, based on a drawing by assistant resident tutor Duncan Lindsay.

College warden Chris Addington said 91 of the college’s 214 residents had remained during the lockdown and student morale was “really high”.

Abbey College, the postgraduate college, has been doing regular Zumba classes, as well as book club and poetry readings.

Otago Daily Times