Residential Colleges get behind the wheel of Field Day festivities

Libby Nelson

In preparation for the Residential College Board Field Day, McCormick freshman Drew Price spent 15 hours welding bicycle wheels to a shopping cart.

Jones Residential College residents would later push the shopping cart, with a professor inside, around the Lakefill in a race called the “Master’s Mile” at the three-hour event Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the shopping cart race, about 250 members of Northwestern’s 11 residential colleges danced, jumped on an inflatable slide, played kickball and Frisbee and ate free Subway sandwiches at the annual field day.

Jones resident Laura Nash said she devoured “at least half” of an apple pie as part of Jones’ two-person winning team for the pie-eating contest.

“It was surreal,” the Communication sophomore said afterward. “I wasn’t even chewing, just swallowing pie. And I’m not even sick.”

Residential College Board president and Weinberg sophomore Sarah Whitney said Field Day, which has been going on for at least 10 years, is all about traditions like the Master’s Mile. In fact, the residential colleges keep shopping carts on hand for the race.

“It’s great to see so many residents out having a good time in the sun,” said Whitney, who lives in Shepherd Residential College.

Price said he began working on the Jones shopping cart Friday afternoon after talking about the previous year’s design with fellow McCormick freshman Matt Chastain. Jones had used the bicycle wheels last year as well but used a wooden axle rather than a metal one.

This year residents took last year’s shopping cart out of storage, removed wheels from a bicycle abandoned in Jones and got to work welding in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center.

“We finished the cart at 6:30 a.m. – I went straight to the machine shop from driving escort – and started painting at 8:30 a.m.,” Price said.

The yellow and black paint had dried in time for the race, but Jones finished half of a second behind Slivka Residential College, which won using an ordinary shopping cart with PVC piping sticking out of both sides so that residents could push from the sides as well.

Slikva completed the race in three minutes and 15 seconds, Whitney said.

Slivka President Gillian Hsieh, a Weinberg junior, was at Field Day for the third consecutive year. Slivka’s Master’s Mile victory came after a disastrous attempt at attaching bicycle wheels two years ago and finishing second to Chapin Hall in last year’s race.

“It’s nice to get out and run around (at Field Day),” Hsieh said. “And besides, how many times do you get to push a professor in a shopping cart? It’s such a novelty.”

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