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Student apathy at UC Irvine has a new challenger.

From April 4 – 8, the Pre-Pharmacy Society and Materials Science Engineering Club [MatSci] are presenting the first Spring Spirit Week, a campus-wide competition and celebration designed to “[U]nite diverse groups, [C]reate new traditions, and [I]nspire active participation.”

“We wanted to show the entire UCI community that even academically oriented clubs like MatSci and PPS have a common basis of being Anteaters here at UCI and should take pride in the fact that we have such great people all around us,” said Paul Nguyen, internal vice president of MatSci Club and a member of the Spring Spirit Week executive team.

Clubs and organizations that registered before Monday at 1 p.m. were eligible for the week-long competitions that included a “Sponge Ball Tidal Wave” on Monday, as well as word games, tug-of-wars, relay races and art competitions from Tuesday through Thursday.

The week will end with a “Friday Night Showcase” featuring a headlining performance from the Blue Scholars. In addition, five food trucks are scheduled to provide a variety of unique dining options.

“The purpose of the Spring Spirit Showcase is to display the diverse talents of UCI,” said PPS ambassador Mari Cid. “Blue Scholars is a talented group of individuals, a great example of different, but amazing talent and it’ll be their first time at UCI.”

Each day has been designated a certain theme of apparel (white, yellow/gold, blue/navy, UCI apparel and Spring Spirit Week shirts), with giveaways ranging from an iPad to Disneyland tickets to UCI swag being given out on Ring Road to participating students.

Guest speakers will also present “Livin’ in an ’Eater Nation” and “From the ’Vine” on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Doheny Beach B in the Student Center.

The idea for Spring Spirit Week was spawned this past fall, made possible by a $22,900 grant from the Dean of Student‘s Collaborative Programming Funding Grant (CPFG). Cid was the link that connected MatSci and PPS. In addition, PPS president Janelle Sauz played an instrumental role in the planning process as well.

“After hearing about the Dean of Student’s Collaborative Funding grant, I pitched the idea to [MatSci] to collaborate with my other club, Pre-Pharmacy Society,” Cid said. “Thinh Nguyen, the external vice president from Materials Science Engineering Club, was the one who thought of this idea towards the end of fall quarter and we continued to build off of his idea.”

Both Cid and Nguyen hope Spring Spirit Week will potentially develop into an annual tradition at UCI. Nguyen expects attendance in the hundreds during the daily events, with thousands hopefully attending the main event on Friday. At the very least, Nguyen theorizes that aspects of Spirit Week will be implemented in future events at UCI.

The winning organization will receive a 4-foot trophy, a plaque displayed at the Campus Organizations Resources & Education (CORE) office in the Student Center, unlimited free Zot Zone usage, a pizza party for the entire club and travel mugs. Lesser prizes including shorter trophies but the same travel mugs will be given out to the second- and third-place finishers. Ten free Spirit Week shirts will be given out to every registered organization, with each group paying a $20 registration fee.

“We would like to see more interactions in the UCI community as a whole,” Nguyen said. “Just looking at student organizations alone, our campus has over 500 registered groups and most individuals at our school are not even aware of half of them. Making a conscious effort to see the diversity of our campus is a big step in bringing our community together and we hope that this event can show people that.”

For a full list of Spirit Week events, see page 8 of the New University.

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