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DePaul Had a Gnome Hunt Last Week And It Got Weird

DePaul is not known for its school spirit. We’re more of a the sweatshirts are pretty comfy crowd, rather than an I love my school till the day I die, crowd. You won’t see many of us advocating the good name of DePaul in public. Not because we think it’s a bad school, but because we’re apathetic college students. Nevertheless, DePaul has many avenues in order to raise school spirit, whether it be through the lottery during the freshman year mandatory auditorium meeting, welcome week’s pasta dinner or Sunday mass. Last week DePaul rolled out a new initiative, a gnome hunt, and that alone shows that DePaul has run out of ideas.

For those of you that are unaware, prepare to gain some innocence, but lose some respect. DePaul hid about 100 different gnomes across campus, sporadically throughout the week, in order to raise awareness about opportunities at DePaul. Each gnome was decorated by either a student organization you may have heard of or a DPU office you’ve never heard of. The decorating of each gnome had a level of humanity about them.

Some groups played it safe and actually made competent humanoid creatures. Other went a bit more experimental like the one from the Loop Career Center that looks like a tie-dye shirt or the one for the Clifton Honors Housing which is literally covered in eyes:

The names were obvious creations too, as some groups tried to throw in a clever, witty twist and connect it to DePaul like “Deetoo Elle,” a name which is a sure sign of parental negligence. Others barely tried, like the unpronounceable UCWbLina. It’s concerning that the writing center didn’t knock this name game out of the park, but that may be asking too much of them.


During the week, clues as to where to find the gnomes were distributed through Twitter, either through the Office of Student Involvement or DePaul Dining accounts. Both of which were already pumping out hilarious content every day, bar none. For this reason, not many people were aware that this event was even going on.

If DePaul has about 60,000 enrolled undergraduates (give or take a few thousand), then the mere 2,507 followers that the Student Involvement Twitter account has is nothing. Using some basic LSP 112 math, that’s about 4% of students, not counting if the followers are graduates, alumni, or faculty.

The DePaul Dining Twitter has even less. Most posts about the gnome had about zero retweets and 1-2 favorites so this was an overall success. Each tweet featured the gnome’s picture and a simple rhyming couplet to lead students on a scavenger hunt across campus.

“Scavenger hunt” may be too generous of a word as most of the clues were pretty literal about where to go on campus. Some legitimately didn’t rhyme and just stated which building and office to go to.

So what was the reward for finding these elusive critters? After bringing the gnome to the Stu, students received some “DePaul swag,” otherwise known as a shirt, and a gift card to Chartwells, the monetary equivalent of spending $30 on a Subway sandwich. A better deal would’ve been to keep the gnome and sell it to students who didn’t budget their Demon Express money and were in need of a quick Sizzle fix.

DePaul’s gnome hunt was creative but ultimately failed endeavor to add some school spirit and knowledge into the DePaul equation. There’s been no word on how successful the campaign was, but keep your eyes peeled for some random and free sculptures collecting dust and DePlague around campus.


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