I recently went on a spiritual journey that challenged me, as an engineer and as a person. This expedition took place at the 2023 Spirit Week Gingerbread Building Competition. 

The Gingerbread contest was part of the 2023 Spirit Week which ran from Feb. 2 to 9, organized by the 2023 Class Council. 

Some Gingerbread Houses thrived.

Teams were expected to face off in three intense 30-minute rounds, but,  due to the number of participants , things soon turned into a gingerbread free-for-all. The competition was tense, and the challenges brought the best out of everyone. Gingerbread houses were graded on creativity, structure, neatness, and colorfulness. 

Gingerbread kits were handed to the participants in the Douglass Community kitchen. The first challenge was simple: construct a stable gingerbread house. A mix of holiday and pop music played in the background as participants carefully made their gingerbread homes.

Others did not.

Things were turned up a notch in the second round, when participants had to work on their houses with only one hand. The third round turned some designs upside down, as participants were either given a perfect or a broken kit and had to add on to their house to make it a duplex. 

My home suffered after I tried to make a bridge and realized the materials I was given would not suffice. My creation would not stand as a traditional structure, so my house quickly turned into a North Pole military base after the destruction of World War III. During the third round, my post-civilization military base became a nice ranch house. Ultimately I decided that I have no future in architecture.

After the third round, the first-year judges — Class Council Vice-President Devon Rogers and Class Council Publicity Chair Elisa Stefanidhi — walked around the room,  quietly discussing . They announced five winners, who would earn a Rochester sweatshirt as their prize. 

One of the winners, first-year Walter Cruz, discussed his design. “My creative process was to take an old house, and make it meet the 21st century postmodernism,” said Cruz. 

Correction (2/10/20): An earlier version of this article said in the headline that the competition was annual. This was unsubstantiated. 

An opportunity to create: Turkish Ebru sip n’ paint with Muslim Students’ Association

The Muslim Students’ Association’s Sip n’ Paint sent many students home with a weight lifted off their shoulders and a few pieces of artwork of their own.

When it starts to smell like home

Yet, in random moments, when a smell catches me off guard with the memories it brings, I like to believe the things I feel then are things people feel when they are home.

The village on the other side of the Pacific

It is a dream to let the love rooted in my heart, from the people I cherish and the land I belong to, grow prosperously.