explo spirit day 2010
Entering the world of Explo is like falling down the rabbit's hole and discovering a land of people and customs unlike any other.
A cast of characters, from Paddy O'Furniture to the Red Raider, roam the campus of Wellesley while Intermediate students play curbball or break the world record for the most people doing the robot dance. At the Junior Program, Super Hero Theme Day takes over the St. Mark's campus, bringing together Wolverine, Wonder Woman, the Ninja Turtles, and the Joker for a whole new level of Numa shenanigans. And at Yale, the crowd goes wild for the 100% Rock students jamming out on the bass and electric guitars on stage at Explopalooza.
It is this uniquely creative environment that brings students back to Explo each summer—and that spawned Explo Spirit Day, an Explo-holiday created by one former student.
"I just missed Explo!" says Explo Spirit Day founder David Gumins [Junior Student '06-'07, Intermediate Student '08-'09]. Gumins started the movement in January 2009, rallying nearly 300 alums to participate in the inaugural "Wear Your Lanyard to School Day."
As a student at the Intermediate Program in the summer of 2009, Gumins spread the word to staff and fellow students that he wanted to make the day even bigger the second time around. He made posters that he put up all over campus, and he met with Moira Kelly, Explo's Executive Director, and Lorie Durant, the Director of Alumni Affairs, to give them his ideas about how to get more students and staff involved.
After the summer, he created a Facebook group page for the event, recruiting everyone he knew from the summer to join—asking them to recruit everyone they knew to join (and they asked everyone they knew...).
On January 27, 2010, Explo Spirit Day II was a success—virtually bringing together 1,073 alums from around the globe to participate.
"I was shocked," says Gumins, who admitted to anxiously checking the event's page nearly every day. "It was four times bigger than last year. Everyone at Explo helped. I jumped for joy literally when we passed a thousand!"
A photo contest sponsored by the Alumni Affairs office added to the buzz. Shots of alums sporting their Explo gear poured in on the day of the event and were posted by Durant on the Exploration Summer Programs Alumni Facebook page.
Junior Program Alum Evan Ruderman took home first place in the student division for a Photoshopped image of himself (rocking an Explo landyard) and Sponge Bob Square Pants on a deep sea dive. The faculty division was won by Intermediate staff member Michael Chapman, who fit into the frame of his self-portrait an impressive collection of Explo paraphernalia (a signed curbball, summer posters, a golden freezie pop, an orange faculty shirt, and, of course, his Explo staff lanyard).
Former faculty Jodi Roth also deserves recognition for her entry: a cardboard cutout of President Obama sporting an orange Explo shirt and lanyard. And Kyle Geiste, part of the year-round Curriculum Department at Exploration, submitted a Photoshopped shot of himself and an orange duckbill platypus stuffed animal claiming the moon for Explo.
Explo Spirit Day 2010 was absolute success.
Says Gumins: "I'm already hoping to make it bigger and better next year!"